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ICT Ministry commences approval process of PR Bill

The Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs has set in motion measures to secure Cabinet approval to sanction legislation of the Institute of Public Relations and Communication Management policy and Bill to better grow and regulate the sector, PS Esther Koimett has said.

Principal Secretary (PS) State Department of Broadcasting and Telecommunication Esther Koimett flanked by members of the Public Relations Society of Kenya unveil the certified Public Relations and Communication Professionals’ certification at the Annual Summit held at the Sarova White Sands, Mombasa. Photo by Andrew Hinga

Koimett who is the Principal Secretary State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunications said the two documents were developed by the Ministry in collaboration with the Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) and all relevant stakeholders.

Delivering a key note address during the opening ceremony of the 2021 Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) Annual Summit at Sarova White Sands hotel in Mombasa, PS Koimett congratulated the society for working closely with the government to spearhead the development of the two important documents.

“The approval of the two documents provide the society with the policy and legal framework to enforce professional ethics and standards in the practice of Public Relations and Communication Management (IPRCM) as a self-regulatory body established under an Act of Parliament as a body to professionalise and regulate the Public Relations and Communication Management (PRCM) practice in Kenya,” Koimett said.

She added that the bill also seeks to establish the Public Relations and Communication Management Professionals Examinations Board and make provisions for the promotion, setting of standards and regulation of the practice of PRCM in Kenya.

Koimett noted that the communication needs in the public sector are changing extremely fast and as information needs by Kenyans increase, a need has risen for professionals with different skills that will provide government with different approaches to meet the public’s need for information.

“This has led to recruitment of officers in the public sector with “new” skills including digital media management. They are playing critical roles in providing information on government projects and interventions.

We believe strongly in the interconnectedness between media and public relations and their core roles to both inform and educate publics and build relations. With the Constitution obliging Ministries and State Agencies to provide information to the public, multiple approaches have been used to proactively meet this obligation,” Koimett added.

At the same time, the PS urged PR practitioners to drive the communication agenda and craft campaigns for leaders in a professional manner as the country approaches the 2022 General Election.

She also advocated taking advantage of the communication opportunities by professionals to support the government’s Big Four Agenda.

“A good example of the exemplary performance by public communication officers has been the ongoing creation of public awareness about the government measures to mitigate the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Koimett.

Dr Wilred Marube, President Public Relations Society of Kenya noted that as the association marks 50 years since it started, membership base has grown; there are over 4000 new registered members.

Marube added that the Public relations sector also needs more recognition as opposed to the general public opinion that PR is all about spinning and manipulation of facts.

“Professionals need to integrate digital communication and internal communication. As an association we see that in the next two years we will become much bigger as we expect the Bill to be passed anytime now which will help regularize and bring back professionalism in the field,” Marube said.

He added that the association has launched the certification programme whereby professionals will be certified.

“PR is being elevated from being a unit to being an entire directorate. This will strengthen the profession in Kenya in both the public and private sectors,” he added.

By Chari Suche

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