Public relations group in PH focuses on fight against “age of fake news” in this year’s PR month

MANILA, PHILIPPINES–The proliferation of fake news and propaganda already has an insidious effect on the social fabric of the country, where more than 50 million Filipinos use social media to get news and information. It has reached the point where population is polarized, and democracy and truth put under threat. So, it’s welcome news the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP) is contributing to the fight against it.

PRSP, the country’s premier organization for communication and PR professionals, reaffirms its position against proliferation of fake news. And as it celebrates the National PR Month this September, it will highlight how to combat misleading propaganda through a series of activities.

Themed “One for Truth”, the celebration will include talks and seminars by seasoned PR practitioners. The activities also underline the organization’s call to unity in support of truth amid the age of disinformation.

The 61-year-old organization continues to uphold its precept of “conducting all activities in full accordance with the accepted standards of trust, objectivity, accuracy and good taste.”

It also recognizes the need for concrete steps against false information—which is needed more today with the advent of new technologies and platforms that provide quick access to information anywhere, anytime.

“The new media has empowered democracies all over the world through its amplification of free speech. Unfortunately, some are abusing this communication innovation for interests that benefit them solely. The rise of propaganda machinations online such as trolls and lie peddlers is tearing societal fabric as we know it. This makes it even more crucial for communicators such as PR professionals to continue championing authenticity and accuracy. We must try to make truth everybody’s business,” shared PRSP president Ritzi Villarico-Ronquillo, APR.

One for Truth: Leading in upholding the truth

PRSP’s lineup of activities for the 2018 National PR Month hopes to gather together and unify communication practitioners and aspirants in the pursuit of truth, particularly in the practice of communication.

Kick-starting the September celebration is the General Membership Meeting on September 6. Themed “Humanizing Communication: The Role of PR in Building Real Connections in Today’s Virtual World,” the event will gather PR professionals to reiterate the organization’s position on digital revolution and its impact on public relations and relationship building.

Marc Ha, managing director APAC Client Strategy of Text100, a global marketing communications firm, is coming to the Philippines to share his insights on the evolution of public relations in the age of communication digitalization.

The PR Congress, set for September 27 to 28, will gather seasoned public relations and communication practitioners such as Global Alliance of Public Relations and Communication Management Chairperson José Manuel Velasco, Institute of Corporate Directors CEO Dr. Alfredo Pascual and Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to discuss the latest trends and issues concerning the PR industry.

The 25th Congress, themed “Truth or Trolls: PR in the Age of Disinformation,” will also tackle ethics and governance in PR, identifying fake news, battling bashers, metrics for PR and other trends impacting the PR landscape.

“The National PR Congress is not only an avenue for sharing innovative and effective communication practices but also a space for spurring conversation about matters that concern the industry and the nation as a whole. The Congress will reevaluate the role of PR in building trust and communicating the truth in today’s society,” shared National PR Congress Chair Cherie Mijares, APR.

The exhibit, which will run concurrent with the Congress, will showcase the rich history of PRSP, highlighting the organization’s milestones and contributions across its more than six decades of history.

Capping off the month-long celebration on September 29 is Professional Development 2018, which hopes to bring together local communication practitioners to discuss global trends with foreign industry professionals from the Global Alliance of Public Relations and Communication Management. The event will be spearheaded by PRSP Director Bernard Bagaman.

National PR Month 2018 Chairperson Ana Pista shares how this year’s events put PR professionals at the forefront of today’s battle for truth. “PR practitioners are storytellers of different brands and organizations. We at PRSP make sure that we inculcate in our members and other PR aspirants the need to have truth as the backbone of whatever message we send across,” said Pista.