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Evidence of the dubious tactics of the alcohol industry

MEDIA RELEASE – 18/8/14

Evidence of the dubious tactics of the alcohol industry

Nicky Hager’s latest book “Dirty Politics” reports the alcohol industry works behind the scenes to actively try and smear the professional reputation of people who promote effective alcohol reforms in New Zealand, as well as other public health campaigns.

The book describes how Katherine Rich, CEO of the Food and Grocery Council, a lobby group working on behalf of various big business interests including the alcohol industry, facilitates and pays for derogatory attacks on public health advocates, including Prof Doug Sellman, medical spokesperson of Alcohol Action NZ.

“Dirty Politics” alleges that Katherine Rich arranges for articles with pejorative titles such as “Confirmed: Doug Sellman Gone Mad” to appear on the Whale Oil blog, with her involvement in the smear hidden from public view. An intermediary person is paid to pass information onto Cameron Slater, who in turn, for a fee, posts the article on his blog under his own name.

“Underhand alcohol industry tactics were outlined in the scientific literature in 1992 in an influential editorial* titled “Warning: The alcohol industry is not your friend”, said Prof Jennie Connor, “but hard evidence of them being used here in New Zealand has been hard to identify, up until now”.

“I’m not surprised about this new evidence because this is exactly the sort of secret industry tactics we were warned about from the outset of the Alcohol Action law reform campaign five years ago” said Prof Doug Sellman. “

ENDS

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