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CityAM: Channel 4 under fire over BP Paralympics sponsorship

Sunday 12 Jan 2020

Channel 4 has come under fire from climate activists after it announced that BP will sponsor its coverage of the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Environmental evangelists have taken aim at the broadcaster for accepting money from the oil giant, which is one of the world’s largest contributors to fossil fuel emissions.

Read more: Boris Johnson complaint over Channel 4 melting ice sculpture rejected by Ofcom

The deal means Channel 4 will carry BP branding on its coverage of the Paralympics across live TV, online viewing and social media. Toyota is the other main sponsor of the event.

However, green group Youth Strike 4 Climate (YS4C) criticised the broadcaster for signing the lucrative deal while reporting on the danger of climate change in its news programming.

In November the channel hosted the first ever leaders’ debate on climate change, substituting Boris Johnson for a melting ice sculpture after the Prime Minister refused to take part.

“We commended Channel 4 for hosting the UK’s first climate debate during the general election. But it’s not worth much when they accept money from oil companies,” YS4C said in a tweet.

Extinction Rebellion’s Sheffield arm also weighed in on the row, first reported by the Sunday Times, describing the sponsorship arrangement as “not a good look”.

It comes as BP faces criticism over its sponsorship of other cultural events. Earlier this month the British Museum said the oil giant would not be the official partner of its upcoming Arctic exhibition.

Read more: British Museum cools on BP ahead of Arctic exhibition

The RSC and Scotland’s National Galleries have also pulled their partnerships with the fossil fuel firm following controversies.

A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “BP is a long-term partner of the Paralympics. All sponsorship agreements around our programming are fully compliant with the relevant regulatory codes.”


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