By SARAH KAGINGO
The attention of the Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU) has been drawn to some statements made by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni during his 9th September 2018 address to the nation.
Whereas PRAU agrees with parts of the President’s assessment, as an association of Public Relations professionals in Uganda, we are concerned that there are aspects of the president’s statement that are a misrepresentation of the profession of Public Relations (PR) and hence this clarification:
1. While PRAU agrees with the President when he assesses that PR should not be about distorting reality, the association maintains that professional PR practice is in fact NOT about distorting reality and making appearances. Therefore, when the President describes the advice he received as “PR”, this is far from the true definition of PR.
2. PR and or Reputation Management is simply the art of creating and managing a shared understanding between an organization or individual with their most important stakeholders. 3. Whether the President needs PR or not is entirely his prerogative.
3. Whether the President needs PR or not is entirely his prerogative.
4. However, all organizations; large or small especially those organizations that have a higher responsibility to the public, such as Government, need the communication and PR function. Typically, the bigger the impact of an organization/entity, the greater the need for public relations engagement.
5. Finally, like most professions, PR has professional ethics and standards. When professionals do not uphold these standards, the profession suffers and so do the clients.
In order to uphold the highest possible standards of professional PR and make these standards enforceable, PRAU has been pursuing statutory recognition, among other efforts.
Once this is achieved, it shall back efforts towards holding individual practitioners and agencies to the highest standards and call out practitioners that provide misleading advice.
PRAU remains available for open dialogue on issues affecting the profession and pledges to work with its national membership to uphold the highest possible standards of professional and ethical PR Practice.
The author is the president of PRAU.