Lai Mohammed Tasks PR Practitioners On Trust, Credibility

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has charged public relations practitioners to build trust and credibility in disseminating information, especially in this era of digital communications.

The minister gave the charge at the 15th International Public Relations Congress which opened in Lagos on Tuesday.

The News Agency  of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three days congress, organized by Business Education  Examination Council (BEEC), had the theme, ‘Maximising  the Power of Public  Relations and Digital  Communications  for Organisational success’.

Represented by Mr Francis Nwosu, Executive Secretary, Nigeria Press Council, the minister said that “public relations is about building trust and credibility.”

He said that public relations practice was also about sending the right message to the right place and the right people leveraging on digital communications to achieve success.

According to him, the task facing the public relations officers is compounded by pervasiveness of fake news and misinformation, mostly in the media, and alarmist unprofessional reporting at times on mainstream media.

‘’It is therefore important to communicate the recent massive gains by the military to the populace with facts and figures to counter the fake news and misinformation out there and give succour to our people.

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Mr Mike Okereke, President, BEEC, said in his welcome address that maximising the power of digital communications for organisational success was major driver of national growth which promotes confidence.

Okereke said that government should embrace public relations for national success and national growth because a good reputation achieved through state public relations could attract foreign  investors.

He said that international public relations occupied the centre stage and any government not taking it serious would run into crisis

Okereke said that public relations practitioners should be more strategic in their work, be research based and also to have a strategic plan based on the philosophy of the organisation  and government.

‘’Nigeria and other countries in Africa  can no longer afford to have a situation  where they can sweep things under the carpet.

‘’They have got to address things frontal, especially the job creation, there is bound to be explosion and if that continues, so we are advocating that government should use public relations to help address it.

‘’It is better to have preventive public relations than curative public relations, knowing  a problem and advancing a solution to it, than allowing  it to escalate.

‘’We are in an information age and digital communications occupies the centre stage, so we have to begin to change,’’ he said.

He urged government to encourage it’s officials to attend sinilar forums  and training  programmes organised by BEEC.

Mallam Mukthar Sirajo, President,  Nigeria Institute of  Public Relations, while declaring the congress open, said that the theme of the programme  was more relevant to practitioners in managing the public and understanding  their strategic  functions.

He, however, admonished participants  to maximise deliberations at the congress and utilise it to rebrand their operations.  (NAN)

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