By HOMELANDA MEDIA TEAM
The Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary, Ramathan Ggoobi has urged organisations to always be awake to the value public relations can deliver towards their overall objectives.
“Public relations officers need to advise their organisations on proactive, effective ways of communicating for them. The role of public relations is to help the organisation tell its story. While the media seeks information with very limited time, it is the role of the PRO to disseminate facts about the brands. Ensure that only the right information is disseminated to the audience,”Ggoobi said.
The Secretary to the Treasury was on Friday giving a key note address during the first ever National Public Relations Symposium held at Hotel Africana in Kampala attended by over 200 public relations practitioners.
Ggoobi noted that for organisations to grow, they have to communicate to the public but noted this can be done by public relations officers.
To this, he urged PROs to always understand the editorial policies of media houses but also see ways of ensuring stories about their orgnisations are carried by journalists.
“As PROs, it is your role to help organizations understand the editorial policies of media houses. Use your expertise to develop compelling communication strategies that positively enhance the visibility of the brand you represent.As we demand fairness, let us all know that the public has the right to know. The role of the PRO is not to stop the public from getting the information but to make sure the public gets it with facts and is able to decipher it,”he said.
Ggoobi however noted that PROs should always be proactive and shouldn’t wait for negative stories to run about their organization and then react.
The Public Relations Association of Uganda(PRAU) president, Stephen Mwanga could not agree more with Ggoobi’s deliberation.
“The success of organizations is heavily hinged on how well their public relations is handled. We are convinced that this symposium sets a clear path of where the industry needs to focus on for us to further professionalize public relations practice in the country,” Mwanga said.
Mwanga also reiterated that the public relations industry requires an all-encompassing approach to discuss some of the challenges it continues to grapple with including disinformation and misinformation arising from the use of social media.
He added that PRAU is also in pursuit of for legal recognition, noting that they have so far laid strategies of institutionalizing the association through a draft bill to enable them operate as a legal entity with statutory recognition.
The Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi hailed PRAU for bringing together public relations professionals.
“When you work together as a profession, you can benefit from training and capacity building well as if you were alone you may not be able to achieve this,” Dr. Baryomunsi said.
He however noted that there is a big challenge of social media which has enabled disinformation and fake news to thrive but urged public relations professionals to be alive to this.
“We have to see how to adjust and fit into the evolving situation to see how to deal with it.”
The symposium was also attended by key players public relations industry including UPDF spokesperson, Brig Felix Kulayigye, OPM spokesperson, Julius Mucunguzi, Soft Power Communications; Sraha Kagingo, Kampala Metropolitan Deputy Police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire and CAA spokesperson, Vianney Luggya among others.