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    Walkley Foundation cuts ties with Ampol: ‘No tangible benefit to humanity’

    The Walkley Foundation has decided not to renew its sponsorship deal with Ampol, following last year’s protests against the partnership.

    An updated sponsorship and donations policy now states: “The Foundation does not accept money from companies or individuals that it deems to pose a significant reputational risk due to the nature of their dealings that offer no tangible benefit to humanity.”

    The current Ampol sponsorship will end in October, with The Australian reporting that “neither Ampol, nor the Walkleys, wished to renegotiate the deal, given the negative publicity that the sponsorship attracted for both parties.”

    Comms Declare founder, Belinda Noble, said the move was “a significant step for our media and wider society in dealing with the new reality that fossil fuels are doing more harm than good.

    “Coal, oil and gas companies are a reputational risk to anyone that helps promote them, and that risk will only grow as the climate becomes more unstable.”

    In 2023, cartoonist Jon Kudelka published a blog post on his website titled Why I’m not entering the Walkleys this year. Kudelka cited the close ties that fossil fuel company, Ampol, has with the awards as the reason for his decision. 

    He was followed by several high-profile cartoonists and journalists either withdrawing their entries or choosing not to enter the awards.

    An overhaul of the annual awards in May 2023 saw The Walkleys reinstate the international journalism category as well as other additions for specialist and explanatory journalism. As Kudelka wrote, “While there was a call for climate reporting to have its own award category, it didn’t make the cut.”

    This has since been rectified, with Science and The Environment being added as a category from the 2024 mid-year awards. 

    The Walkley Awards were launched in 1956 by Ampol Petroleum founder Sir William Gaston Walkley, after a partnership with the Australian Journalists’ Association.

    The full history of Ampol’s connection with the awards is detailed on The Walkleys website, with a disclaimer added in September noting the organisation has “condemned and expressed deep regret for racist views expressed by the founder of its major awards… in a newspaper column in 1961.”

    The post Walkley Foundation cuts ties with Ampol: ‘No tangible benefit to humanity’ appeared first on Mediaweek.

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