Local and international Public Relations experts have been urged to help change the negative perceptions peddled about Kenya so as to position the country as an investment destination and a land of opportunities.
Speaking today during the opening ceremony of the World Conference on Public Relations on Emerging Economies (WCPREE) at Kenyatta Convention Centre, the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Information Communications and Technology, Dr. Fred Matiang’i, said emerging economies like Kenya bear the brunt of negative publicity where they are painted as being insecure and prone to terrorism, tribalism and other negative connotations.
Dr. Matiang’i explained that the negative publicity about emerging economies occurred because communicators have not taken the lead in sharing positive experiences in their respective regions with the rest of the world.
“This conference is an opportunity for emerging economies to come up with viable communication strategies on how to change wrong narratives and attract investment. Like many countries, Kenya continues to deal with terrorism which unfortunately has impacted negatively on our tourism sector,” the Cabinet Secretary said.
He urged communication professionals to help paint a picture different from those depicting Kenya as a hotbed of terrorism and other bad descriptions and in the contrary help position the country as a hotbed of peace and development.
The WCPREE conference has brought together hundreds of renowned communications experts in Nairobi led by Lord Peter Selwyn Chadlington, (UK) Mr Paul Holmes (of the Holmes Report), and Mr Gerald Mullally from the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom among others.
“We expect the conference to set a new direction in the way governments and private sector institutions will communicate in the future so as to change the wrong narratives that existed in the past and other emerging economies,” said Dr. Matiang’i.
The conference is hosted by the Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) in conjunction with the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management.
Dr. Matiang’i also revealed that communication experts within Government Ministries, Departments, PR Agencies, Learning Institutions and Corporates attending the conference are expected to learn global communication challenges, besides equipping themselves with new insights in the public sector communication, latest developments with respect to risk, crisis and change communication.
In addition, the Cabinet Secretary reiterated the efforts being made by government to streamline the public relation sector in Kenya. “We are enacting a law to recognize Public Relations practitioners in the country and are readying to institutionalize the Public Relations Society of Kenya,” he revealed.
In reference to the freedom of the press the Cabinet Secretary promised that the Government will continue to uphold the rule of law and the freedom of the media.