Friday, May 11, 2007

Should the Media Allow Darfur-Divestment Ads?

I've been getting emails for some time from, which is seeking to persuade Fidelity Investments, Berkshire Hathaway and other high-profile investors to divest their supposedly Sudanese-related investments.

I'm undecided as to whether divestment is a good idea, or if the stocks targeted by this organization have any genuine connection to the misery in that part of Sudan. However, I do believe that the organization should be allowed to run an ad it has designed, which you can find here, seeking to persuade Fidelity to join the campaign.

A letter from the coalition, posted on the website, urges that Fidelity divest its portfolio of PetroChina, Sinopec, and other major companies that allegedly provide significant financial support the Government of Sudan.

So I'm disturbed by an email that I received from the Darfur campaign today. It says as follows:
Following apparent pressure from Fidelity Investments, Business Week recently joined CNN and Newsweek in “holding” Darfur advertisements calling on Fidelity to divest its Sudan-linked holdings. Despite Fidelity’s campaign to short-circuit the divestment movement, the Save Darfur Coalition has still effectively communicated the divestment message through various media including Boston television, the Washington Post and USA Today.

I have no opinion on the merits of the coalition's claims, but I think they should be heard, and that their advertisements should be published.

© 2007 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.


Wall Street Versus America was published by Penguin USA on April 6.
Click here for its listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site,

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