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The Good, The Ad, and the Ugly: How not to prepare ad campaigns on human rights and business [Egypt]

Author: Salil Tripathi, Institute for Human Rights and Business, Published on: 6 June 2011

[A]…video [was] circulate[d] on the Internet, apparently produced by…JWT [J. Walter Thompson] for…Vodafone. The video shows Egyptians…joining the protests [against] the…Mubarak regime…Mobinil, too, tried to link itself with the revolution...The role telecommunications companies did play in Egypt’s revolution hardly advanced human rights: in fact, their actions made many more vulnerable. The companies switched off mobile communications…and, under duress, transmitted pro-regime and anti-demonstrator text messages…Vodafone [stated] hat it did not authorise the video, and it is no longer available on JWT’s website…There is already speculation of a potential lawsuit against Vodafone and Mobinil in the United States under the Alien Tort Claims Act...[T]he WPP group, which owns JWT…[said] that [Vodafone and other] companies should not be forced to take…human rights decisions…[H]e implied that companies like Google and Twitter may…create problems for other companies, because…they were taking responsibility for human rights – a responsibility they did not have. [However] companies have the responsibility to respect human rights…

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Related companies: Google (part of Alphabet) JWT (part of WPP Group) Mobinil Twitter Vodafone WPP