PRs hired to aid 1999 elections in Kazakhstan

KAZAKHSTAN: Hill & Knowlton and BSMG Worldwide have won an unusual joint appointment to encourage politicians and the press to police the forthcoming elections in former Soviet Bloc nation, Kazakhstan.

KAZAKHSTAN: Hill & Knowlton and BSMG Worldwide have won an unusual joint appointment to encourage politicians and the press to police the forthcoming elections in former Soviet Bloc nation, Kazakhstan.

Both BSMG and H&K will target media and lawmakers on behalf of the Kazakhstan 21st Century Foundation, although H&K will work particularly close by with Western journalists in Moscow.

'We have spent a considerable amount of time sitting around the same table,' admitted H&K's head of public diplomacy practice Charles McLean.

'There's not necessarily a clear division of responsibility.'

The campaign, which will run from the pair's Washington offices until September 1999, is being financed by the supporters of Kazakhstan's opposition party leader, Akezhan Kazhegeldin.

'We want to show that the current election environment is not democratic and that the international community should be watching the situation,' explained BSMG principal Jim Meszaros.

Neither company would disclose their fee, although Meszaros confirmed BSMG would receive payment of 'tens of thousands' of dollars.

McLean said the foundation is one of a growing number of pressure groups hiring PR agencies to promote their agenda. 'We have to be careful about taking on international business because we want our clients to reflect well on H&K,' McLean added.

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