Pharma switches off Facebook, China crackdown on i
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Pharma switches off Facebook, China crackdown on i

Paul Holmes

EModeration has a helpful overview of how pharma companies are responding to their new inability to turn off comments on Facebook pages. Until earlier this month, the industry was allowed to disable comments, because of the US legal requirement that they report any adverse drug reactions. Sadly, it appears that many companies are opting to shut down these pages altogether. They must be aware, presumably, that this will not stop people from discussing their drugs online. This WSJ blogpost offers a considered view of the Chinese government’s crackdown on ‘illegal PR’ websites and links to an authoritative Holmes Report op-ed on this topic by China PR veteran David Wolf. As Wolf notes in the WSJ piece, crackdowns count for nothing if companies are still willing to engage in disinformation and deceit. The New Zealand media continues to scrutinise Tourism New Zealand’s PR spending, as it should. But its focus on prime minister John Key’s appearance on Letterman in 2009 is yet to reveal a smoking gun. The government body paid Hill & Knowlton $10,000 to arrange the appearance, which strikes me as money well spent. Of more concern, I would argue, is Tourism NZ’s unwillingness to reveal further details of H&K’s work for the organisation or of the money it spends on the firm. What is there to hide? Before fleeing Libya for a life in exile, Col Muammar Gaddafi was planning a £9m PR campaign directed against NATO, documents reveal. This follows the country’s quixotic quest for PR agency representation, first revealed by the Holmes Report. There is little to suggest that this £9m PR blitz took concrete shape, but potential lobbyists were identified. Sticking with the MENA region, the wonderfully-named Bureau of Investigative Journalism sheds more light on Bell Pottinger’s work for Yemen, although its big ‘scoop’ appears to consist of a month-old FARA filing. Regardless, and taken together with the firm’s work for the PLO, it seems clear that Bell Pottinger has no intention of letting critics derail its Middle Eastern PR work.
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