Report fingers Bell Pottinger in 'white monopoly capital' campaign

04 September 2017 - 12:35 By BusinessLIVE
Ajay Gupta and his younger brother Atul.
Ajay Gupta and his younger brother Atul.
Image: MARTIN RHODES

UK PR firm Bell Pottinger’s account team working for the Gupta-owned Oakbay was primarily responsible for devising the “white monopoly capital” campaign.

This was according to findings released on Monday by law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, which was asked to examine the work done by Bell Pottinger on the Oakbay account.

Bell Pottinger has released HSF’s findings but not the full report.

“The BP [Bell Pottinger] account team was primarily responsible for devising the strategy behind the economic emancipation campaign and for creating and commissioning content for the social media and press aspects of that campaign,” HSF said in its findings.

However, it said there was no evidence to suggest that the PR firm used or instructed others to use so-called Twitterbots in the promotion of the campaign.

HSF said that a key part of the economic emancipation drive was a social media and press campaign, which included one blog and one associated Twitter account.

It also found that there was no evidence that the Bell Pottinger team had invented the term “white monopoly capital”, although on occasion it had been used by them.

“In addition, we have seen evidence that the BP account team used other tactics in relation to the economic emancipation campaign which arguably breached the relevant ethical principles, including taking steps which might mislead or undermine journalists who were asking questions in relation to the campaign,” it said.


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