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August 07, 2011

PRSA: Libyan Government Request for PR Counsel is Shameless — New York Post Letter to the Editor

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) had a letter to the editor of the The New York Post  published Aug. 7, 2011, in response to a July 31, 2011, New York Post article reporting on a request by the Libyan government for communications and "image enhancement" counsel from New York public relations firms. The letter corresponds with previous PRSA commentary on the ethical implications of public relations professionals representing dictators. 
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Letter: 'Dafy Spin
Published: Aug. 7, 2011

Brad Hamilton’s article on Moammar Khadafy’s seeking PR counsel calls attention to a serious disconnect in the minds of Libyan leaders when it comes to things like honesty (“Khadafy Looking To Hire a NY PR Rep To Clean Up Image,” July 31).
 

I hope my PR colleagues will recognize the absurdity of the Libyan government’s alleged concern for appearance for what it is: a shameless attempt to cover over the atrocities for which that government is responsible.


Kirk Hazlett
Member, Board of Directors
Public Relations Society of America
Manhattan

Note: Due to space constraints in the print edition of  
The New York Post, the full scope of PRSA's letter was not published. Below is a copy of the original letter that was submitted to The New York Post:

To the Editor:
Brad Hamilton’s article on Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy seeking public relations counsel from New York PR firms calls attention to a serious disconnect in the minds of Libyan leaders when it comes to simple things like “honesty” and “reality”  (“Khadafy Looking To Hire a NY PR Rep To Clean Up Image,” July 31).

That Ali Darwish of the Libyan Ministry of Information would brazenly proclaim that Khadafy seeks to "present [his] just and fair case to the world" and expect that “world” to believe he truly cares about truth and justice is, in itself, mind-boggling.

I sincerely hope that my fellow PR colleagues will recognize the absurdity of the Libyan government’s meaningless and insincere mouthing of concern for appearance and public acceptance for what it is: a shameless attempt to cover over the atrocities for which that government is responsible by throwing buckets of money into the coffers of an unsuspecting public relations firm.

Ethical public relations places an emphasis on counseling reputable organizations and individuals in developing and maintaining beneficial relationships with concerned stakeholders. Neither the Libyan government nor Khadafy have shown the slightest inclination to develop this type of cooperative relationship.

Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA
Member, Board of Directors
Public Relations Society of America

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