Independent Investigation Shows TV4’s Fact-Checking Failures

Sheikh Al Amoudi Submits Complaint to Swedish Broadcasting Commission against TV4 on Failure to Provide Accurate Facts

Sheikh Al Amoudi and his Ethiopian cotton manufacturing company MAA Garments & Textiles [“MAA”] have submitted a complaint to the Swedish Broadcasting Commission [”SBC”] concerning damaging factual inaccuracies about the Company appearing in the Kalla Fakta broadcasts on TV4 on November 11th, 2014, and January 23rd, 2015. The complaint arises from the regulatory duty on TV4 to provide accurate facts and is supported by a supply chain audit provided by the Mintz Group, an independent international investigative company.

The TV4 claim was that the Sheikh and his company, MAA, was connected, through the supply chain, to allegedly illegal land seizures in the Lower Omo Valley in Ethiopia. Land grants for development are the subject of political dispute between a number of NGOs and the Ethiopian Government.  The highly politicised first report in the programme Kalla Fakta was based in part on testimony from political activists but without independent checks on the veracity of their statements or a critical view of bias. The broadcast was primarily targeted at the Swedish retailer H&M but made a number of claims about H&M’s cotton supply chain that centred on MAA.

The Mintz Group’s independent report conclusively demonstrates that (since 2012 when MAA first started to supply cotton on contract to H&M) only one of MAA’s nine suppliers has supplied cotton from the Lower Omo Valley, OVAI. OVAI, however, has operated its farm since at least 1990 and at its present size since 2000 long before the date in which the Ethiopian’s contentious land grants are said to have taken place (according to the testimony of the activists themselves). There is thus no substance to the claim that MAA Garments or the Sheikh have had any connection whatsoever with any alleged ‘land grabbing’.

Moreover, Kalla Fakta failed to check its facts with respect to OVAI or it may have confused OVAI with another cotton farm entirely – Omo Valley Farm Co-operation [“OVMC”]. OVMC signed a land lease agreement with the Ethiopian Government in June 2012. MAA has no connection with OVMC whatsoever. In the light of this failure of care, the Sheikh and MAA’s submission states that TV4 has breached the obligation stipulated in Section 10 of the 2010 Transmission Permit Issued by the SBC.

IN SWEDISH: Oberoende undersökning visar brister i TV4: s faktakontroll