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August 16, 2011

PRSA Condemns Work of American PR Firms Representing Dictatorships in The Hill Op-Ed

In an op-ed published Aug. 15, 2011, in The Hill newspaper, PRSA Chair and CEO Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, condemns the work of American public relations firms that have provided reputation- and image-enhancement counsel to Libya, Syria and other dictatorial governments.
 
Fiske writes that, “With the economy faltering and anxiety high over its resiliency as a global superpower, there is little wiggle room within the United States’ fragile global reputation. Yet, when the country can least afford another scandal, America is being hit at its very core by some of its own people.”
 
She also says that for “U.S. PR firms to represent dictatorships that do not afford that same freedom to their own people is disingenuous to America’s liberties and its reputation as a marketplace for dissenting ideas.”
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Destroying America's Reputation by Rebuilding Libya's
By Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, PRSA Chair and CEO
The Hill
Published: Aug. 15, 2011


With the economy faltering and anxiety high over its resiliency as a global superpower, there is little wiggle room within the United States’ fragile global reputation. Yet, when the country can least afford another scandal, America is being hit at its very core by some of its own people.

As The Hill has reported in recent weeks, a slew of American public relations and public affairs firms have been hired by some of the world’s most repressive governments and dictators to help rebuild their sullied reputations. The list runs the gamut, from high-profile global agencies, such as Brown Lloyd James and Bell Pottinger, to smaller domestic firms, like Potomac Square Group and Qorvis Communications
 
Stuck in the middle is the high-brow Monitor Group, made up of Harvard academics and former diplomats. The firm has received fervent public backlash after its work to enhance the reputation of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi was exposed in March by The Boston Globe. The company acknowledged in July that it erred in representing Libya and other repressive governments in the past.