Amith Prabhu: Time to protect our profession from quacks

20 Jan,2014

By Amith Prabhu

 

The lawyers have the Bar Council, the chartered accountants are governed by an institute, the doctors are overseen by the Medical Council and many important professions have their own systems of ensuring quality service and genuine control. However, the profession that helps build and protect reputations has nothing to protect its reputation. Is there a way out of this situation before it is too late?

 

Fixers and lobbyists masquerade as PR professionals and a few of them do and say things that brings a bad name to what we do. How does one solve this problem that will eat into the several good things that we do? Is there a way to protect our interest as a community of true blue professionals?

 

There is a voluntary association of PR consultancies. There are couple of other bodies which use the word Public Relations in their name but are they able to address the issue at hand? Point in question is a New York Times article that writes about the tragic death of a minister’s wife in which a gentleman is quoted, wherein he is referred to as a PR specialist.

 

He may do several things PR professionals do but is he really a PR person in the true sense. People still mistake that ‘being networked’ and ‘having editorial connections’ is all that Public Relations is about. We are definitely not an industry as some would like to believe because doctors, lawyers, engineers and chartered accountants are not part of an industry.

 

We have to get together sooner rather than later to find a way to what can become a real problem in the future that prevents young talent from getting into the profession and doing the right thing. The questions we need to ask is if we do need an association which accredits professionals through a certification? Has the time for such a set-up come already?

 

An organization that registers members who then are administered a test is the need of the hour. It happens in the US and the UK and we don’t have to wait for another major consultancy to shut shop to start one. The creation of this system may not completely prevent quacks from emerging but will ensure they do not go around flaunting false credentials of being PR specialists.

 

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