‘Always Engage Media To Improve Your Organizations’ Public Relations’- PS Ggoobi Urges PR Practitioners

The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury Ramathan Ggoobi, has advised members of the Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU) to always have a constant relationship with the media as a way of building the public relations of their organizations.

Speaking during the first National Public Relations Symposium held at Hotel Africana, Mr Ggoobi who was a keynote speaker revealed that continuous engagement with the media prevents media cynicism, this is because media affects the public at every strategic and operational level, therefore, every communication has effects.

“As public relations practitioners, you need to understand or remind yourselves about the editorial policies of media houses to be able to drive messages to your respective audiences,” he said.

“As Malcolm X said, the media is the most powerful entity on the earth, it can make innocent, guilty and guilty, innocent. That is powerful because they control the mind of the masses, therefore when we don’t communicate, we simply communicate inversely. That is why constant engagement with the media improves relations and also reduces media cynicism. Waiting to deal with bad press is a bad strategy,” the economist added.

According to the PS, PR practitioners should get facts from their bosses and communicate them to the media accordingly. Your constant engagement with the media reduces cynicism.

Mr Ggoobi also cautioned the public relations practitioners that setting records straight after a bad press does not fully rebuild the public relations image that was already damaged due to the bad press.

“One of the editors in the New York Times once said when the dog bites a man that’s not news but man bites the dog that is news, so the media will always be looking for the situations where man is biting the dog. Therefore, we need to have media for the good of the public. Public Relations in shaping the future of organizations.”

He further encouraged bosses of the organizations to always engage with the communications officers before urging that public relations must be integrated into the decision-making process and execution.

The event attracted slightly over 200 participants with several panelists discussing a wide range of topics regarding journalism and PR crisis; the role of public relations in shaping the future of organizations, building the gaps between classroom knowledge and practical experience and more.

The Minister of ICT and National Guidance who also serves as PRAU Patron, Hon. Dr Chris Baryomunsi who was the Guest of Honor asked communications officers to work together for the betterment of the country since there are many government programs which have not been utilized by the public due to little or no information in the masses.

Chris Baryomunsi, challenged the organisers to strengthen their association, sign partnerships to be able to achieve tangible results.

Stephen Mwanga, the association’s president said they were in advanced stages of launching a training programme for members together with Makerere University. “We want to make PRAU a centre of knowledge and create opportunities for members,” Mwanga said.

The National PR Symposium is a concept birthed by the current PRAU Governing Council. The main purpose was to lay a platform onto which all communication professionals and key PR stakeholders in Uganda would meet to dialogue on pertinent industry issues.

The Symposium was attended by key players in the PR industry including; Yusuf Walusimbi, Brig. Gen. Felix Kulayigye, Julius Mucunguzi, Vianney Luggya, Hellen Nanteza, Sarah Kagingo, Jimmy Kibeeru, among others. Among the key sponsors for the event are; Nation Media Group, National Agricultural Research Organization, UMEME Limited, Uganda Airlines, Electoral Commission, National Medical Stores, Parliament of Uganda, Uganda Breweries, Capital One Group, Stanbic Bank, Vivo Energy, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, Uganda Electricity Generation Company of Uganda (UEGCL), Uganda Development Bank, Uganda Baati Ltd, National Water & Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), Centenary Bank, Uganda Printing & Publishing Corporation (UPPC), and Nile Breweries.

Meanwhile, the National PR Symposium is a concept birthed by the current PRAU Governing Council led by the current President Mwanga. The main purpose was to lay a platform onto which all communication professionals and key PR stakeholders in Uganda would meet to dialogue on pertinent issues relating to the communication trade in Uganda; aimed at strengthening the communication profession in Uganda.

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