INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Expose into bought news hit and missed

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.

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