Cabinet Secretary for Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy, Eliud Owalo, has urged Public Relations (PR) practitioners to embrace data-driven public relations and communications practices to address rising fake news, ChatGPT, and deepfakes.
CS Owalo stated this during the official opening of the 2023 Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) Annual Summit held on Tuesday, 28th November in Kwale County. The summit, themed “The Financial Service Industry and the Judiciary, Upscaling for a Sound Economic Ecosystem”, brought together PR practitioners from various sectors to discuss the emerging trends and best practices in the field of public relations and communications.
The CS delivered a presentation on “NDPA 2023 and its Impact on Loan Sharks in Nigeria”, where he highlighted the adverse effects of digital lending companies, commonly referred to as loan sharks, on borrowers and the financial system.
CS Owalo also informed the audience of the measures taken by the National Committee of Regulators to regulate the activities of digital lending companies and ensure their compliance with the Nigeria Data Protection Act (NDPA) 2023.
PR practitioners play a vital role in managing crises, engaging with the public, and influencing public opinion in the digital realm, where information travels at lightning speed and public sentiments can quickly escalate. Due to this, PR practitioners must anticipate and respond to emerging trends, effectively manage crises, and engage with the public authentically and transparently.
The Role of Modern Technology in PR Practice
With modern technology available for data-driven decision making, PR practitioners can now rely on data analytics tools to measure the impact of their campaigns and strategies. This data-driven approach helps in assessing the effectiveness of communication efforts, making informed decisions and precisely targeting specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviour, and to personalise their communication strategies.
Kenya’s Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy has also been playing a vital role in implementing the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda. CS Owalo noted information, communication, and the digital economy as the key enablers and supporters of government business. He added that the Ministry is leveraging the advancements in AI, data analytics, and social media to better understand public opinion, tailor its communications strategies, and enhance its ability to engage with citizens.
Concluding, CS Owalo encouraged the PRSK to identify areas of partnership that can facilitate communication interventions in awareness creation and behaviour change, ensuring the successful implementation of various government programmes and positioning themselves as true agents of change.
The Cabinet Secretary also called on all the PR practitioners to continue building a robust and professionalised public relations and communications sector, and to collaborate across the different sectors to positively position Kenya, and Africa, globally.