Publishing editorial correspondence is a risky tactic. Ryanair believed it would help it 'expose Panorama's false claims'. But should other brands follow suit?
Bright Young Things Communications' MD Niall Cowley believes this approach is inadvisable in most situations. 'It is never a good thing to let your relationship with a journalist get that bad. Big brands often have to toe the line, because they benefit from a continued relationship with the journalist,' he says.
'Private correspondence should remain private,' agrees Kevin Read, Bell Pottinger Business & Brand MD. 'Deliberate, cynical leaking of correspondence will always have a negative impact on a company's reputation, and possibly prejudice it in any future legal action, even though it may provide a short-term first mover advantage.'
Of course, journalists can leak emails too. According to Jonathan Bracken, partner and head of public policy at law firm Bircham Dyson Bell, PROs should be aware of what they put down in writing because most correspondence can be published legally.
'If an email is not marked confidential, or there is no confidentiality agreement, it is fair game,' he warns.