When PR = Press Risk

Related entries: Business Issues, General, News, Risk & Law, Services

Plenty of people use public relations services and the press in China to good effect, but the unsightly underbelly of the industry has been exposed in recent news, which has included wide coverage of the beating to death of a reporter who may have been seeking payment (as is common) to keep a mine accident out of the papers.

Silicon Hutong (h/t China Law Blog) reports in detail on the issue of this sort of “Black Journalism” and blackmail. In summary, paying dishonest reporters to keep negative stories out of the press is not a good idea, as the demands and threats will only ever increase (and it is corruption!). The proposed manta is:

    “No matter what my PR people, my PR agency, or anyone else tells me, OUR COMPANY WILL NEVER PAY FOR COVERAGE, either directly or indirectly.”

    Say it.

    Live it.

    Stick to it.

    Or be prepared to spend ever-increasing sums of money buying off the jackals. “

More on this issue is on Image Thief, who notes in another post that:

    “the Chinese media’s ‘ethical framework is not entirely developed’. By which I mean that it is, in many ways, a corrupt swamp.”

But it is not just a case of poorly-paid journalists trying to make a buck on the side. The complexity runs right to the top. Image Thief provides an example of “ministerial guidance” resulting in a story being pulled:

    “Apparently the magazine had just received guidance from the Propaganda Ministry to be more “sensitive” in publishing stories that involved foreign investment, particularly around certain industries or well-known Chinese brands.”

Sensitivity is required anyway at the moment, but that is especially true when dealing with the media (and the wild-fire blogoshpere).

You have been warned!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.