PR must not be tool for manipulation – Oppong Nkrumah

Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah
Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah

Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information, has charged Public Relations practitioners to uphold the ethical tenets of the profession to harness its power for national development.

He said PR had the potential to unite the nation and contribute to its socioeconomic development when rightly used.

The Minister said this in a speech read on his behalf at the commemoration of this year’s World Public Relations Day (WPRD) Festival Summit held on Friday.

“We must ensure that public relations never become a tool for manipulation or deception. Rather, it should be a force that amplifies authenticity, empowers the voiceless, and upholds the values of honesty and transparency,” he emphasised.

The WPRD Summit, organised by the Global Media Alliance in collaboration with stakeholders within the industry, was to offer practitioners the opportunity to reflect on the collective growth and progress of the profession, learn from each other and to chart a future course that is innovative, ethical, and purpose driven.

It was on the theme: “Harnessing the Power of Public Relations”.

Madam Charlotte Morgan Asiedu, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Information, read the speech on behalf of the Minister.

Mr. Nkrumah said, over the years, PR professionals had contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of Ghana, including playing critical role in the recent fight against the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister said the emergence of social media was a major concern against such national campaigns, with the spread of mis/disinformation, globally.

To address that, he said, the government through the Ministry of Information was pursuing the passage of a law to regulate content and general broadcasting.

“I am sure this law when passed will come in handy since broadcasting is one strategic media used by PR professionals to inform the public,” Mr Nkrumah said.

He added that the government would not renege on its commitment to create the required conditions for PR practitioners to freely practice in the country.

Mr. Ernest Boateng, Chief Executive Officer, Global Media Alliance, said global economic conditions, transformative technological change and increasing adoption of artificial intelligence and generative AI such as chatgpt, had weakened the practice of PR.

He stressed that in an era of profound connectivity and overflow of information, public relations’ role had become more crucial in ensuring that accurate information was churned out.

“We are no longer merely communicators; we have evolved into architects of narratives and agents of change, with far-reaching influence that spans individuals, organisations, and societies,” he added.

He urged PR practitioners to embrace innovation and adapt to the changing communication landscape to remain relevant now and beyond.

Mr. Mawuko Afadzinu, President, International Public Relations, stressed the need for PR professionals to build trust and expertise to harness the potential of PR.
“You cannot tap the power of PR without trust, without combining expertise to make credibility,” he said.

During a panel discussion on the topic, “Harnessing the Power of Public Relations”, the panelists emphasised the need for PR practitioners to build trust and confidence in their publics.

The panel included Ms. Sophia Kudjordji, Chief Corporate Communications Director, Jospong Group of Companies, Nana Essilfuah Tamakloe, Marketing and Corporate Relations, Absa Bank, Ms Emma Wenani, Chief Director, Global Media Alliance and Ms Adelaide Abbiw-Williams, Chief Executive Office, SES HD Plus.

Ms. Kudjordji explained that transparency and integrity was critical in building trust between PR professionals, organisations and the public.

The celebration of World PR Day started in 2021 to enlighten the world about the nobility and misconceptions around the practice of public relations.
It is commemorated on July 16, every year.

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