PR sector seeks law to regulate operations

Nation Media Group CEO Joe Muganda addresses the 2016 Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) Summit at the Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa on November 17, 2016. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT 

The Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) is fine tuning a Bill to be presented in Parliament in readiness for establishment of a law to regulate the sector.

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The society is currently reviewing the Public Relations and Communications Bill, which will see establishment of an Act of Parliament to guide operations of PR practitioners.

Speaking during this year’s annual Summit at the Whitesands Beach Resort on Wednesday, PSRK chairperson Jane Gitau said with the growth of the public relations sector, there was need to set standards and regulations to instil professionalism.

They expect that the Bill will be presented in Parliament for debate early next year. Once in place, the Act will also see establishment of the Kenya Institute of Public Relations where PR practitioners will be trained.

“We would like to clean up our industry so that we hold one another accountable and get certified to work as PR practitioners. This will ensure there is ethics and accountability in the profession and that there is a way of skills and relationship building,” she said.

“It is necessary that we move towards regulation through an Act of Parliament. We also hope to set up an institute with the relevant curriculum that will train and certify public relations officers,” Ms Gitau said, adding that they had already held talks with the ICT ministry and relevant committees of the National Assembly.

She noted that whatever is being taught even in institutions of higher learning was not relevant to the practice of PR in the country, a situation the institute will seek to correct.

The Summit, which ends on Friday, is sponsored by the Nation Media Group, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).

Despite the growth of the PR sector in the country, many organisations have not taken it seriously, despite the important role it plays in maintaining the reputation of those institutions, the Summit heard.

Nation Media Group CEO Joe Muganda said the reputation of a company is key to the growth of the organisation and should be given the attention it deserves.

“The reputation of a company is priceless since it has been built over a period of time and it is paramount in ensuring that the organisation is alive. The mistake that some firms make is that they take their PR seriously only when there is a crisis,” he said.

“Reputation should be managed when everything is peaceful. If you are used to breaking promises don’t expect people to understand at the time of crisis,” Mr Muganda said.

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