The Defence Spokesperson Brig Gen Felix Kulayigye on Friday participated in the National Public Relations Symposium that was held at Hotel Africana, Kampala where he spoke on PR Practices in Government entities, Opportunities and Challenges.
The Symposium organized by the Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU) is designed to bring together all PR Stakeholders to share their skills and deliberate on a number of issues pertaining to PR practice.
Earlier, the Minister of Information, Communication and Technology, Hon. Chris Baryomunsi who is also the patron of PRAU, urged public relations professionals to keep a keen eye on technology changes and see how these changes affect their work so as to embrace it and be on top of the PR game.
Hon. Chris Baryomunsi pledged to support PRAU and urged members to work together to better the country.
The keynote speaker, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Secretary to Treasury, Mr Ramathan Ggoobi, said the success of an organization depends on how much and how well they communicate and reminded practitioners of the role of the media which he said in a powerful tool in shaping public opinion.
Mr. Ggoobi said that the media has the power to influence minds, ideas, behaviours, and the attitude of the masses.
Mr. Ggoobi mentioned that the importance of cohesion and synergy of this function heavily relies on inclusion of this function at the highest level (in the boardroom) so that PR is integrated into the decision-making process and execution.
He encouraged PR professionals to understand the drivers of the editorial policy of media houses so that they can better represent their organizations and inform their communications strategy.
On his part, Brig Gen Kulayigye reminded the Public Relations practitioners that in order to carry out their jobs effectively, they must appreciate and be loyal to their jobs and be quick-witted and also informed.
“To be a good communicator, you have to be informed yourself, otherwise, you have nothing to say,” said Brig Gen Kulayigye.
The Defence Spokesperson further cautioned practitioners about understanding the power of information and quoted Henry Kissinger who said that a transistor radio has more devastating effects than a squadron of B25 Bombers.
This, he said, as he called upon practitioners to build relationships between their organizations and the media.
“Crises inspire the strong and frighten the weak,” Kulayigye noted, adding, “The shyest institution I have known is government. When we try to speak out on what we’ve done, they say we are making excuses.”
“The success of organizations is heavily hinged on how well their PR is handled. We are convinced that this symposium sets a clear path of where the industry needs to focus on for us to further professionalize public relations practice in the country,” said Stephen Mwanga, the PRAU President.
Mr. Mwanga also reiterated that the PR industry requires an all-encompassing approach to discuss some of the challenges the PR industry continues to grapple with including dis/misinformation arising from the use of social media. He added that the association is also in pursuit of statutory recognition to that effect.
PRAU is the professional body of all PR professionals, communication specialists, brand managers, mass communication and other related disciplines charged with the advancement of PR excellence in Uganda.
PRAU was founded in 1976 as a membership-based professional body of Public Relations (PR) practitioners in Uganda.