OVER-REGULATION

Don't criminalise Public Relations

In Summary

• The PR profession wants to create a new statutory Institute of Public Relations

• It will become an offence punishable by a fine of Sh500,000 to practice PR without a licence

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

The Public Relations Society of Kenya wants to create a statutory profession regulated by a new Institute of Public Relations and Communications Management (see P12).

According to their new bill, practising  PR without a licence will become an offence punishable by a Sh500,000 fine.

They also want the new Institute to organise training, set exams, and issue certificates.

It is a good idea to develop the skillset of PR practitioners but it is a bad idea to ban any unlicensed person from practising PR.

Firstly, it is unenforceable. How do you stop someone from writing press releases and sending them to media houses? Or inviting journalists to come and meet a public figure? Where does PR begin and where does it end?

Secondly, Kenya is already over-regulated. Do we want to say that no-one can be a chef or a taxi driver unless they are licensed by the Institute of Cooking or Taxi Driving?

Today anyone can prepare financial accounts even if they are not qualified. It is not a crime. PR should be the same. The Institute can certify qualified professionals but they should not forbid anyone else from doing PR work.

Quote of the day: "Roads are the blood vessels of the economy."

Jakaya Kikwete
The Tanzanian President was born on October 7, 1950