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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, April 29: Two local agencies have bagged the Diamond Award, the highest tier in three categories of the 2nd Asean International Public Relations (PR) Excellence Awards in three categories.
Sarawak Energy Berhad bagged two of them — (a) ‘Best PR Practitioners — Asean’ category with its ‘Mat Weavers’ programme and (b) ‘Best PR Campaign — Asean’ category with its ‘Electrifying Sarawak and Beyond’ campaign.
The third Diamond Award was won by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports under the ‘Best Government PR – Asean’ category.
Other participating countries in the Asean International PR Excellence Awards included the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, competing for the Diamond (highest tier), Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in various categories.
The categories were: Best PR Programme — Asean, Best PR Practitioners — Asean, Best PR Agencies — Asean, Best PR Campaign — Asean, Best Print Media Company Supporting PR and Communications Industry, Best Online Media Company Supporting PR and Communications Industry, and Best Government PR — Asean.
Earlier, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan praised the efforts of the organisers of the 2nd Asean International PR Conference that was held here today.
He said the international conference was exceptional because it was in conjunction with the Visit Sarawak Year 2019, apart from being a gathering of global PR minds.
“You determine, most of the time, messages of your leaders, companies and products.
“This is another milestone in our (ministry) quest to raise the branding of Kuching, and I am confident that global awareness of Kuching’s warmth and hospitality will now increase with the presence of everyone here in this conference,” said Snowdan.
He also noted the ever challenging jobs of PR practitioners, especially in the age of the Internet and social media now.
He said things could be misinterpreted and get out of context with damaging consequences and could spread faster due to disruptive technologies such as the Internet, social media and the ever-advancing communications devices such as smartphones.
“The world seems to be moving at a faster pace than before. And the speed that information spreads is sometimes unbelievable, more so if it’s gone viral with wrong and harmful information.
“Fake news becomes real news. Fake news sells. This has got to be addressed,” he said.
Snowdan noted that people nowadays believe what appears on their handphones, regardless of the source of information, and this makes the job of public relations practitioners all the more challenging.
“While we are busy crafting messages with factual information, all it takes is one leak taken out of context to damage our reputation long before our messages are actually sent.
“And do people really care about the messages? Or is the messenger more important?” asked Snowdan.
Therefore, he added, he recognised and acknowledged what PR practitioners do on a daily basis to manage the reputation of their organisations and agencies in the midst of all these digital technologies, which is no mean feat.
“I strongly admire your determination, your drive and your persistence,” he told those present. — DayakDaily