Week 3- Chapter 1 [Irene Lee @ Khine Yin Win (3119122)]

Chapter 1- Introduction: Building Relationships, Framing Issues and Events

Perhaps the most interesting aspect in this chapter is that media relations have the ability to, as said in the text, “spin doctoring” and “influence peddling”. In short, media relation’s practitioners have the capability of framing and encoding messages in ways, which are intended for the viewer to decode. This questions the agenda of some news channels and medium which claim to be objective and that the material is sourced from the government. Thus, to what extent is this so because as a media practitioner you are after all representing a client- and in reality all clients are trying to make their image good, whether they are truly good or not.

So my question to those reading this is-

  1. To what extent should media practitioners be allowed to contribute to the news?
  2. What measures could be suggested to prevent those unethical clients who want their image to be good when in reality they are not?

In my opinion both these questions are heavily related to an individual’s ethic. For instance, media practitioners need to be ethical although the fact is, not all are. Media practitioners need to understand the power and influence they have when using the media as a communication tool. For instance, I have come across PR practitioners who chose to provide their services for associations, which have a ‘shady’ image.

Take for example, DCI group, a public affairs enterprise that took up the role to work alongside Burma and to improve the infamous country’s relationship with America and to assist in fighting against the opium trade and the country’s AIDS epidemic. It only took 8 months before the company terminated the contract after heavy criticism.

As Washington Post’s, Al Kamen stated, “DCI lobbyists, featuring Charles Francis, a longtime family friend of the Bushes, ran a sophisticated campaign to improve the regime’s image–and steer the conversation away from its rampant human rights abuses and such”.

Clearly, a line should be drawn to whom PR companies choose to provide their services. It is even more so when PR companies such as DCI have links to higher authorities and officials with influential power. For instance, DCI was able to set up two meetings between the White House National Security Council Southeast Asia director Karen Brooks and the Burmese authorities.

Thus, my point is, there should be serious ethical consideration before accepting to represent controversial clients.

Referencing:

Ambinder, M., 2008. Focus: ‘The DCI Group Responds on Burma, The Atlantic, [Online] Available at: <http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2008/05/the-dci-group-responds-on-burma/53206/&gt; [Accessed 18 September 2011].

Johnson, D., 2006. Focus: ‘The Swift Boaters Are Back In The Water, Huffington Post, [Online] Available at:<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-johnson/the-swiftboaters-are-back_b_25223.html&gt; [Accessed 18 September 2011].

Miller, L., 2004. Powers Behind The Throne, PR Watch: Public Interest Reporting on the PR/ Public Affairs Industry, [e-journal] 11(4) Available at: <http://www.prwatch.org/files/pdfs/prwatch/prw11_4.pdf> [Accessed 18 September 2011].

Stanton, R., 2007. Media Relations, Oxford University Press Melbourne.

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