MOSCOW: While disapproving of the way it was executed, the Russian
Public Relations Association (RPRA) has said it supports Promaco
PR/CMA's campaign against paying media outlets for news stories.
At the end of February, St. Petersburg-based Promaco proposed to several
Moscow newspapers and magazines that they publish material about a
fictitious agency called Svetofor belonging to the imaginary firm DG
Centre. The publications were told they would receive money in exchange
for running the fabricated editorial matter.
The situation was deliberately made more absurd by the fact that the
address given was actually that of a vacant city lot.
Of 21 publications approached by Promaco, 13 ran the information
immediately after being paid, without indicating the fact that it was an
The Russian media's reaction has been heated. Several publications have
partly acknowledged the practice of cash for editorial, but others have
hastened to accuse Promaco of a 'premeditated provocation.'
In reply to the accusations, Kirill Semyonov, Promaco general director,
said 'gentler methods would not have been capable of drawing serious
attention to this problem.'
According to Semyonov, apart from this instance, Promaco has never
attempted to buy editorial.