12 November 2009

Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa

It was the Global Public Relations Handbook that gave me an idea to have a closer look at the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA). You can find their website here.
PRISA was established in 1957 and it represents public relations and communication management professionals from the southern African region (registered members in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, and South Africa). PRISA is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, and it also initiated the formation of the Council for Public Relations and Communication Management which is the coordinating body representing various groupings of professionals in South Africa. 
PRISA offers a career path for PR practitioners, encourages skills development, helps plan lifelong learning and has developed a set of standards for the consulting industry with different measurements for small, medium and large businesses, and accredits consultancies based on criteria including transformation, business plans, client campaigns, etc. I couldn't find the standards from the website of PRISA, but you can have a look at PRISA Code of Conduct presented in the Global Public Relations Handbook that describes the code in detail. It looks really impressive! The other fact that caught my eye - the Code of Conduct was accepted by its members in 1976 and the same year the organization welcomed its first Black members.
Looking at the PRISA milestones (by M. Moscardi, 2002, Johannesburg, South Africa: Director of PRISA, reprinted with permission in Global Public Relations Handbook), the overview of organization mission, vision and activities, one could say that PR in South Africa is well-developed and has long history. But is it really the same with all PR activities in South Africa?

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