Documentary filmmaker Phelim McAleer was invited to speak at a conference held by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Oxford University on Wednesday in Washington D.C. under one caveat: He couldn't show a portion of his newly-released documentary, FrackNation, that criticized Russia.
He was scheduled to show various clips from his pro-fracking film, but was told the section involving Russia's manipulation of Eastern Europe's gas supply could not be screened due to a lack of a counter-argument, prompting McAleer to withdraw from the conference.
McAleer told CNSNews.com that he believes the IMF doesn't want to offend Russia and was nervous about "having a speaker that doesn't believe everything environmentalists say."
An e-mail provided to CNS News by McAleer shows part of the exchange dealing with the clip. Here is Rabah Arezki's, an Economist at the IMF, reasoning for not allowing the section:
"Thank you for the clarification. We are thrilled that Phelim will come and address us soon and we expect a large audience. But as an international institution we cannot show the video clip on Russia and Poland (item 4) without allowing others to have their say on the matter. Since that isn't possible on this occasion, Phelim will have to skip that. The other clips are fine and we look forward to Phelim's talk."
"It seems that the IMF and Oxford University want a discussion and views as long as those views don't upset Russia," McAleer said. "Russia is one of the biggest economies in the world and is hyper sensitive to criticism and the IMF wants to keep them on their good side - even if that means stifling dissent."
"The clip in question contains interviews with British journalist James Delingpole and Neil Buckley, the Eastern European editor of the Financial Times. McAleer and several interviewees argue that expanding shale gas production in Poland could free the country from dependence on Russia.
"'The problem with relying on Russia for gas is that Russia now has a proven history of using gas as a kind of tool or rather blunt instrument of diplomacy,' Buckley says in the clip. Russia shut off or throttled natural gas supplies to Ukraine several times over the past decade, leaving millions of Eastern Europeans without heat."