(Just posted: Response to a kind invitation by the Global Alliance For Public Relations and Communication Management to produce a webinar on “Global Public Relations in the Evolving Society”. Condensed, edited from video script https://vimeo.com/417376980
I will stipulate – and try to support – three fundamental assertions:
Global society is irrevocably interconnected – with great progress over many decades, but with inherent weaknesses that represent potential peril.
Whatever global transformative “new-normals” evolve, reliable information from informed sources is the plasma for social progress.
Therefore, the public relations profession’s principles and ethical codes will, over time, contribute to renewed global cooperation and societal progress.
Of course, you may well be thinking, quite justifiably:
“Hold on. We are in the midst of a historic global pandemic with existential impact on public health and the global economy. This could surely have a great negative effect on globalization in the foreseeable future.”
Unquestionably – and tragically - true.
In this webinar we will not, by any means, overlook the COVID-19 impact on the evolution of global society. But let’s try, briefly, to peer through this terrible cloud overhanging global society and examine it in a somewhat broader context – hopefully, in a way that is helpful.
It would be foolhardy to prophesize with any degree of certainty. There are too many “unknowns” and “unknowables”. And it is too true that the Corona virus pandemic wave of uncertainty has generated many global, national and local issues that will endure well into this century.
I believe this: It is now arguable that the evolving society - even with these and many other uncertainties -- makes the sharing of reliable information – truth - and practice of public relations needed more than ever. Because harmony or, at least, earnest efforts to achieve it, is ultimately at the heart of the public relations social purpose.
Despite formidable socio-political obstacles, the globalized, sustainable interconnected society will eventually advance once again. It will advance because it must as we face a range of macro challenges that can only be addressed with international connectivity and cooperation.
Science - especially medical science – without borders.
Trade and commerce via the many supply chains that now girdle the globe in accord with the Ricardo Theory of Comparative Advantage.
Climate change; arms control; conflict resolution; the refugee immigration tragedy; artificial intelligence and convergent technologies; “digital surveillance capitalism”;
And, of course, pandemics.
A brief list of the many multilateral organizations and institutions that have long contributed - and are still contributing -- to global inter-connectedness: The United Nations, World Health Organization, World Trade Organization, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the many thousands of multinational companies, philanthropies, non-governmental-organizations and academic institutions.
And the role of global public relations in these turbulent times?
Two of many current examples:
In late March, The Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management posted this:
Twelve Messages for COVID-19 Responsible Communication
… “the board members agree on twelve messages that should guide communication about the pandemic. The aim of this initiative is to remind governments, companies, organizations and individuals that the way we manage communication is key to shape public sentiment, to help overcome that global crisis, and, at the same time, to be ready for the future.” The list is available on the GA site in five languages.
About the same time, one of the GA member societies, The Public Relations Society of America, posted this:
How Communicators Can Help Inform the Public During COVID-19 Crisis
“PRSA and the PRSA Health Academy have created an infographic aimed at simplifying the information-gathering process and directing people to reliable, credible resources.
“Our expertise can help drown out the din and assist communities in deciphering facts from fiction. The role of public relations professionals as advocates for truth, accuracy and transparency in accordance with the PCode of Ethics is integral to our daily practice but especially crucial in times of crisis.
“This is a global emergency where the expertise of public relations professionals can have a positive impact…”
Perspective for the long term.