EDITORIAL: Role of PR in the current climate

As the international community begins to come to terms with the

implications of the terrible events of 11 September, some no doubt feel

that talk of PR is inappropriate. The most visible evidence of this

sentiment being the decision by many leading advertisers to pull or

modify campaigns, as well as the postponement of a number of events and


This is only right and proper. But beyond the arena of marketing

communications, it cannot be denied that in 21st century warfare, even a

campaign as unconventional as that now being planned, communications

will be vital.

But while this may be a war unlike any other, one aspect of any conflict

can be certain - that the battle will be fought not only in the

inaccessible terrain of Afghanistan but also in the media,

internationally and on home territory.

Rarely has it been so crucial for the constituent parties of the

anti-terrorist alliance, whether that be governments, the military or

security services, to carry with them popular support for their backing

of military action and stringent new internal security measures - at

both a national and regional level. And to create some reassurance for

the man on the street (not least the domestic Muslim population) faced

with an unprecedented level of media coverage of unfolding events. While

this may not marry with the common perception of PR, in reality this is

public relations in its most literal sense.

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