Gov’t represented at PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia
Georgetown, GINA, October 30, 2013
Press and Publicity Officer to the President, Kwame Mc Coy participated in Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) 2013 International Conference from October 26 – 29, in Philadelphia, USA.
The conference was held under the theme: One World: Connection, Community and Collaboration. The PRSA is the world’s largest and foremost organisations of public relations professionals which provides a range of resources and promotes ethics in the industry.
Mc Coy has been engaging the wider fraternity of media and public relations practitioners internationally to draw from experiences to develop standards for an accountable and more responsible local media. He is determined to take advantage of the vast resources and significant networking opportunities to explore the use of new trends, and techniques in media and public relations.
At the conference, various aspects of social media featured prominently with emphasis on its benefits in building and maintaining relationships with stakeholders and the public at large. The discourses underscored the value of the social media in promoting conversations, and receiving feedbacks on policies, programmes and initiatives and encouraged its use as one of the leading media of communication.
In embracing the concept, Mc Coy expressed serious concerns about the dangers social media poses to the achievement and sustenance of public good, order and decency, and implored his colleague media and public relations practitioners to avert the social and psychological damage its misuse is capable of engendering.
‘’The changes in the media have been phenomenal, and we are seeing a steady acceleration of technology and innovations which makes it difficult for some of us, especially in the third world where the challenges of adaptability are different – trying to grapple with the lack of resources to adequately deal with this pace of technological advancement,” he posited.
Mc Coy lamented the growing misuse of the social and traditional media for slander, libel and character assassination, arguing that such reckless behaviour has been a major contributor to the lowering of cultural and ethical standards in societies.
“Those of us who have a duty to safeguard and protect the ‘public good’ must promote the debate on the need for accountability in the media where it doesn’t exist, since the public good is ‘vulnerable’ to all types of unethical behaviour and the wild west phenomenon in the media is fast moving to replace our morals and standards,” he said.
Expanding on the issue, Mc Coy strongly defended the need for the media to be accountable in its own construct in keeping with the shift to accountability and transparency. “It is almost incomprehensible for the media to dodge standards of accountability for itself, while it expects every other institution and individual to be accountable. A true modern democracy cannot exclude media accountability,’’ he argued.
Mc Coy’s comments were made during several workshop sessions over the period of the conference.
With the evolution of the local media, Guyana is seeking to take advantage of opportunities for professional development, inclusive of improving media standards.