OVERSIGHT

PR practitioners to be regulated under new proposal

The draft proposes that an Institute of Public Relations replace the Public Relations Society

In Summary

• Practitioners who practice Public Relations and Communication Management for gain without being registered by the institute shall be found to be in offense of the Act

• According to the proposal, these practitioners shall be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh500,000 or a one-year jail term, or both.

PRSK CEO Sylvia Mwichilu presents the draft of the Public Relations and Communication Management bill, 2019 to National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya at his offices on September 29, 2021.
PRSK CEO Sylvia Mwichilu presents the draft of the Public Relations and Communication Management bill, 2019 to National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya at his offices on September 29, 2021.
Image: /TWITTER

Public relations professionals operating without a licence under new proposals risk a fine of Sh500,000.

They will equally have to sit and pass an examination in order to practice their craft if the Public Relations and Communication Management Bill, 2019 is passed by Parliament.

“Practitioners who practice Public Relations and Communication Management for gain without being registered shall be found to be in offence of the Act,” reads the draft.

According to the proposal, the practitioners shall be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh500,000 or a one-year jail term, or both.

The Bill by the Public Relations Society of Kenya proposes the setting up of  Institute of Public Relations and Communication Management to replace the society.

“The board shall prepare syllabus for examination in Public Relations and Communication Management, make rules, conduct examination and issue certificates to candidates who have satisfied examination requirements,” the draft reads.

The board shall also liaise with the Ministry of Education and Higher Learning in the accreditation of institutions offering subjects examinable by the board.

According to PRSK, a task force was created in 2018 and began the work of collecting information from various stakeholders on the draft of the bill.

Former PRSK president Jane Gitau said intensive deliberations and comparative analysis of other jurisdictions formed the need for Kenya to establish a robust legal and regulatory framework for the profession.

The draft proposes that the institute be run by a secretariat headed by a CEO while a council headed by a president provides policy direction and overall leadership of the body.

“This will enhance corporate governance and transform the Institute into an influential voice on professional and public interest matters"

"We believe that by doing so, the proposed framework will bequeath the profession with dignity, recognition, and respect in all spheres,” Gitau said.

Apart from regulation the institute will also be tasked with the registration of practitioners and disciplining a non-compliant ones.

If passed into law, PR practitioners will have a grace period of within 24 months of the act’s commencement to comply.

Those not certified by the institute shall not be allowed to practice until they get registered and accredited by the examinations board.

The bill was presented to National Assembly majority leader Amos Kimunya on September 29, and is expected to be tabled in Parliament soon.