National PR Day Observed PR’s role in strengthening democracy stressed

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Bhubaneswar: Public Relations (PR) influences and guides public opinion, which has a greater role to play in strengthening democracy, to a significant extent. It helps in building mutual understanding and developing a trusting relationship between an institution and public, said Information and Public Relations and Law Minister Pratap Jena.
He was delivering the inaugural address at a National PR Conclave on the occasion of National PR Day here on Saturday. The event having the theme ‘Strengthening Democracy: Role of PR’ was organised jointly by Institute of Media Studies (IMS), Information and Public Relations Department and Utkal University.
“It is encouraging that a growing number of PR practitioners are becoming aware of the social and political ethos of their profession. Adapting to professionalism, they have remained the agents of change and development,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman of Press Council of India (PCI) Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad stressed on positive contributions of PR. He also pointed out its negative role in the society. He specifically raised fingers at what he called paid journalism by way of spreading false information or half-truths by PR agencies through media. He urged journalists not to canalise their entire energy on negative aspects of governance alone as doing so might tend to undermine hundreds of positive aspects and hard work of people in governance and demoralise them.
Referring to free media, he reiterated the Government’s commitment to freedom of speech and free press. “We are always proponents of freedom of press. We are committed to safeguard the interests of journalists,” he said.
Vice-Chancellor of Central University of Orissa (CUO) Prof Sachidananda Mohanty stressed on the code of conduct for the profession.
Among others, Prof Sanjeev Bhanawat of University of Rajasthan, Bengaluru-based PRCI’s Director Mrs Geetha Shankar, former director of I&PR Department Baishnab Prasad Mohanty and Director of IMS and Conclave Convenor Prof Upendra Padhi also spoke.
The event had also two plenary sessions on ‘Transparency in public administration and good governance’ and ‘PR in mobilizing public opinion and CSR activities’ where eminent academicians from across the country shared their views.