The new year will see a crucial stage in the International Public Relations Association's mission to root out corruption and boost transparency in media across the globe. IPRA 2003 president, Ceyda Aydede, accepts it is a campaign of daunting scope - but one she will lead with relish.
The Istanbul-based CEO of Turkish agency Global PR and Consultancy will inherit control of the most important project the organisation has launched in recent years.
In January an international transparency index will be published that ranks countries according to comparative incidence and levels of media corruption. The index, developed by Florida's Institute for Public Relations, will add to similar studies into corruption, but is believed to be the first to rank media transparency on a national basis.
Asked what long-term effect the IPRA's campaign can have, Aydede - talking to PRWeek on a brief visit to London - is realistic, pointing out that the body is 'not the police'. She says it will, via its members and national co-ordinators, campaign to raise awareness of 'zakazukha' - a Russian term for the acceptance of bribes by journalists in exchange for editorial, after a sting operation by Russian PR agency Promaco.
In March 2001 the Russian firm sent a fictitious news release about a store opening to the Moscow media. More than half of publications that received the release initiated negotiations to run the story in exchange for cash.
The IPRA's transparency work forms just one aspect of Aydede's working life. Her day job at Global PR and Consultancy - a ten-year affiliate of Fleishman-Hillard - involves managing almost 30 staff and a list of multinational clients that ranges from agricultural giant Cargill to data warehouse firm EMC.
Aydede is a member of PR associations in the US and Turkey and stood unopposed for the IPRA presidency. She has served on the IPRA council since 1994 and on the board since 1997.
But despite her ever-increasing PR interests and responsibilities, she has not always worked in the sector. Before setting up Global, she was sales, marketing and then PR manager for Swiss food retailer Migros but prior to that she was an auditor for Arthur Andersen.
The activities she now oversees for IPRA include the only global PR awards programme - the Golden World Awards - plus conferences, seminars and the publication of quarterly magazine FrontLine.
Next October she will play a role in the triennial IPRA World Congress.
She is set to open and close the conference, at which 1,500 PROs are expected to converge on Hobart, Australia.
Aydede will be inaugurated as IPRA president at an event in Turkey next month. She has spent this year speaking at seminars and helping with an IPRA recruitment drive, specifically in 'nations close to Turkey', such as Bulgaria and Romania. By the end of 2003 she wants the IPRA to have members from at least 100 countries (it is currently 98, the latest members coming from Syria and Iran), but she also plans renewed recruiting drives in countries such as Austria and Italy.
She says the IPRA is 'in good shape', citing its 'increasingly corporate administration' as one positive recent development. And she is similarly well regarded by the IPRA's loyalists, such as Manning Selvage & Lee executive V-P Alasdair Sutherland, who was IPRA president in 2001: 'Her level of energy and dedication is outstanding. She's very well known in Turkey and her charisma will ensure people get things done.'
In respect of her suitability for the IPRA presidency, F-H European president Jack Modzelewski says: 'Ceyda is a very internationally-minded PR professional. She's always looking to broaden her horizons and she's committed to training and education.'
This commitment is evidenced by the fact that Aydede has written a book - published last year in Istanbul - which provides case studies of PR practice. She has penned a second tome, on media relations, which she hopes will be published shortly and, as a sideline, she lectures at Istanbul's Yeditepe University.
Aydede describes the PR industry in Turkey in characteristically positive terms: 'In the 1980s Turkey became an open market with lots of multinationals.
It is because of their news that we need to keep up with world standards.
Turkey is still an emerging market but because of client needs we have developed good PR skills.'
She can now identify with a passe UK stereotype of the PR industry: 'Five years ago in Turkey, all models thought that when they retired they could become PR people. But now corporates have understood what they want and PR is more strategic.'
With a global strategy to direct for the IPRA, an agency to run - and lectures to prepare - Aydede will have little time for relaxation through what will be a busy 2003.
1980: Sales manager, Migros (Turkey)
1988: Soroptimist International of Europe scholar, Hesser College, New
1989: Founder, Global PR and Consultancy
2003: President, IPRA