Ian Monk: Foxy Knoxy scores uneasy PR coup

A brilliantly executed PR campaign looks to have played a seminal role in winning freedom for Amanda Knox. If that is the case, its success will rightly prompt pride in the power of our trade. It may, at the same time, cause a twinge of concern as to how it is exercised.

Ian Monk: Foxy Knoxy scores uneasy PR coup

Any campaign which succeeds in righting the terrible wrong of a justice system of locking away an innocent for 26 years must be a candidate for global accolades.

And yet for some a concern may persist that the inevitable focus on image may have marginalised elements of the truth. There is also the sense that the campaign might have been less successful had its subject not been young, female and attractive.

Without as striking an alleged accomplice as Foxy Knoxy, then might her wrongly co-accused, Raffaele Sollecito, still be in jail?

No-one can blame the amazingly supportive Knox family for resorting to every legitimate weapon to free Knox. Having seen their daughter's reputation shredded by a prosecution intent on portraying her as a she-devil, PR was an obvious resource on which to call.

A mark of the PR success was that the Foxy Knoxy moniker was adjusted to apply to soccer rather than sexual wiles. Control was exerted over family members who aired heart-rending and articulate support.

And at the end of it justice was done and seen to be done live on TV, including persistent close-ups of Knox in extremis as she underwent the unbearable anguish of waiting for the appeal verdict.

Finally the verdict delivered freedom for Knox and a great story for the media. Yet those running the Knox PR campaign would surely have liked a few more headlines proclaiming innocence rather than freedom.

Equally they must surely want to lay to rest any idea of moral equivalence between Knox's innocence and Meredith Kercher's murder. Some media portrayals have suggested that Knox's innocence delivers new outrage to the Kercher family through the power of the Knox PR.

That, like much when image and justice become intertwined, is an affront to all parties.

Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun.

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