How should a PR professional deal with disinformation? APRA introduced 7 principles

Prague, 18. 5. 2021 – The Association of Public Relations (APRA) perceives an intensive spread of disinformation in the Czech society as a serious problem but also as a great challenge for PR professionals. At the Forum Media Light conference, APRA presented seven principles of how a PR professional should deal with disinformation. The principles represent the first comprehensive set of recommendations on this topic. The aim of APRA is to open a professional discussion through these recommendations.


14.03.2022 – Last year, APRA started to support an initiative called Nelež, which helps to eliminate banner advertising on disinformation websites. “This kind of advertising gives disinformation sites credibility, directly supports their operation and at the same time, also means a reputational risk for the advertiser,” says the chief of APRA, Patrik Schober. “We are glad that the Nelež initiative continues to grow and that there are more than a hundred companies today which have committed themselves to not advertise on these platforms. Many of them are also members of APRA. ”

However, concerns for the relationship between disciplines like PR and fake news are not just about advertising on disinformation websites. Brands can easily become the target of fake news, subsequently impacting them negatively. “It is necessary to be prepared for situations like this, to be able to react quickly and to effectively disprove disinformation,” says Michal Vlasák, a member of the APRA Executive Board.

An additional concern is that by expanding the influence of disinformation, the trust in traditional media is declining. “Strong traditional media and the ongoing democratic debate on them represents a fundamental context for the field of public relations. That is why it is essential for our profession to support and cooperate with such media which strives for factual discussion and quality journalism, “adds Michal Vlasák. According to APRA, PR professionals, as experts in the media scene, can also use their expertise, understand the problem well and explain it to the public. In this way, they can contribute to increasing media literacy, which is at a low level in the Czech population.


How should a PR professional deal with misinformation?

7 principles according to APRA:

  1. Be clear about what disinformation is; be sure about how to discover it and where it most often comes from.
  2. Use your media expertise and educate your surroundings about what disinformation is and what risks it could bring.
  3. Do not advertise on disinformation websites. This is a reputational risk for your organization and a support for the spread of disinformation. Support serious media, you need them for your work.
  4. Do not inform operators of disinformation media. Operators and editors of disinformation media are not the same partner for a PR professional as regular journalists.
  5. Get ready. Disinformation can endanger an organization’s reputation and is a significant source of crisis communication. Define procedures for crisis communication that arises from disinformation.
  6. Ignoring misinformation may not be the solution. In the situation of a reputation threat, carefully consider how to disprove the disinformation so that it is not strengthened.
  7. Find independent sources of objective information, verify the facts with them and, if necessary, involve them in communication. Use fact-checking platforms.



Patrik Schober

APRA Chairman

APRA – Asociace public relations, z. s. | Na Poříčí 12, 110 00 Praha 1

Tel.: +420 224 875 320, +420 775 351 034 | Email: |

ICCO launches World PR Report 2018-2019: “Our time in the sun is now -and in the years to come”

The ICCO World PR Report 2018-2019 released today reveals agency heads in every region of the world predict increased profitability this year compared with last year.

The World PR Report 2018-2019 was launched by International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) Chief Executive Francis Ingham on Tuesday 27th November at a combined ICCO-PRCA Southeast Asia-AMEC conference in Singapore at 12:00 SGT (04:00 GMT); and then at events across the world.

For the past five years, the ICCO World PR Report has surveyed agency heads to take the temperature of the global PR industry, and to identify areas of growth; expectations for investment; and future challenges. The findings are reported both as global trends, but also region-specific results. The Report also includes the Holmes Top 250 Agency Rankings.

Key findings include:
On a scale of 1-10, the global average for optimism is 7.7, on a par with last year (7.8). The most optimistic markets are Africa (7.9) and Asia (7.8). The least are the Middle East (6.6) and Eastern Europe (6.6).

When asked about expectations of profitability, the global average is 6.9, compared to 6.4 last year. Asia came in highest with a score of 7.7, followed by Western Europe at 7.2. Africa came in lowest at 6.1.

Corporate reputation is cited by agency heads as a function set to grow over the next twelve months. 44% also predict growth in digital/online communications; with 39% citing social responsibility as an area of growth.

Social media community management tops the list of areas that should expect increased investment over the next few years, at 43%. This is followed by multimedia content creation (41%), and digital build and production (35%).

On the subject of measurement, the Report reveals that 48% of global respondents do not ever use AVEs, up from 44% in 2017. The main global reason given for the continued minority’s use of AVEs is that it is expected by clients (26%). The existence of AVEs is highest in the Middle East, where only 15% report that they do not ever use them.

The biggest challenges identified were clients not committing sufficient funds (38%) and clients being too short-term focused (34%). Retaining key staff is the top talent specific challenge (61%).

Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO, said: “In every region of the world, agencies expect to be more profitable this year than last. And given the uncertain times in which we work, that speaks volumes. CEOs continue to increase financial investment in their corporate reputation, while investor activism and social media transparency have intensified the focus on delivering not just good numbers, but doing so with integrity. These trends have helped fuel a demand for senior counsel.

“Clients not committing sufficient funds relates clearly to our inability to still fully prove our value. And that in turn relates to our under-investment in evaluation. But we should also acknowledge progress here. In every region of the world, those saying AVEs are their preferred method of evaluation has fallen. Evaluation becomes more sophisticated with each passing year. While there is more work to be done, much progress has been made.

“All around the world, PR is growing in size and in influence. Our time in the sun is now -and in the years to come.”
Barry Leggetter, CEO, AMEC, added: “Every year the ICCO World PR Report gives us more encouragement that the global education programme to show PR professionals the business benefits of using evaluation is working. AMEC will continue to partner with ICCO and PRCA to persuade the PR industry to invest more in evaluation, because only then will PR firms be able to fully prove their value to clients.”

Sarah Hall, Founder and Editor, #FuturePRoof, commented: “It’s encouraging to see that public relations is booming in every market around the world. Organisations recognise our value in engaging with stakeholders to build trust and reputation, and help organisations tell their story through content.

“ICCO’s analysis shows that agencies have firmly got to grips with the paid, earned, shared and owned media model. Earned and owned media typically lead with paid and shared used to drive amplification or performance.

“However it’s not all good news. Budgets and talent remains a challenge. Agencies need to take an agile approach to managing staff.”

The Global Women in PR (GWPR) survey results are also contained within the report, with family commitments being identified as the biggest barrier to women reaching leadership positions.
“Fundamental to changing this is to have better flexible working policies in place, yet only 67% of organisations allow employees to work from home on a regular basis,” said Angela Oakes, Joint President of GWPR, also citing parental leave as an issue. “Though most organisations have parental leave policies in place, three quarters of those that take this are women.”

Download the World PR Report 2018-2019 here

ICCO announces new Regional Presidents

ICCO is pleased to announce that five Regional Presidents have been appointed, who will represent the recently formed Regional Boards covering Europe, Americas, Middle East, Africa and Asia.
The following candidates were elected by the ICCO Global Board of Management:
Europe: Juergen H. Gangoly, Managing Partner, The Skills Group; Vice President, Public Relations Verband Austria (PRVA)
Americas: Aaron Kwittken, Global Chairman & CEO, Kwittken; Board Director, PR Council
Middle East: Loretta Ahmed, CEO, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Grayling; Chairman, PRCA MENA
Africa: Bridget Von Holdt, Executive Director, Glasshouse Communication Management; representative of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA)
Asia Pacific: Nitin Mantri, CEO, Avian Media; President, Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI)
The Regional Presidents will join the Global Executive Committee, comprised of the Global President, Vice President, Treasurer, immediate Past President, the Regional Presidents, and the Chief Executive.
The new structure, announced at the Global ICCO PR Summit in Oxford in September, aims to ensure that all regionals, organisations and individuals represented by ICCO can create and develop their own voice for the benefit of the regional and global PR and communications industry.
Commenting on the new structure, ICCO President Maxim Behar said: “All regions from now on will be represented in the ICCO Global Executive Committee. But not only that; elected Regional Presidents are great professional colleagues and widely known PR experts and we do believe that their input into ICCO’s management will be significant. We all look forward to working together to strengthen ICCO’s position as the largest global PR community.”
Juergen H. Gangoly, newly appointed Regional President – Europe said: “With ICCO’s new regional structure in Europe, we have the goal to further grow the organisation and make the voice of Europe’s PR industry even more heard by the public. We will intensify ICCO’s relations to European institutions and to partner organisations in the wider communications industry all over Europe. Supporting cross-border co-operation amongst our members from training and educational activities to business and information services will be part of ICCO’s working programme in Europe for the coming years.”
Aaron Kwittken, ICCO Regional President – Americas said: “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues around the world to better promote cross-border collaboration and conversation around a compelling point of view on our role in an increasingly digital world without agency borders.”
Loretta Ahmed, ICCO Regional President – Middle East said: ““As we continue to evolve our agencies and what we do on behalf of our clients, we must also do so with one eye on the rest of the world. That connection, especially for a region emerging as fast as the Middle East is critical. I’m honoured to be elected President for ICCO in the Middle East. Having lived in the region for four years I continue to see communications consultancies delivering world class campaigns and ICCO provides another platform for recognition on all that the Middle East PR sector is achieving.”
Bridget Von Holdt, ICCO Regional President – Africa said: “Africa tends to be the forgotten continent, yet is identified as a focal growth point for so many international companies. As the Regional President, I will use the ICCO platform to position Africa and the agencies represented on the continent as strategic partners, as innovative and of course as the experts within the region.”
Nitin Mantri, representing Asia Pacific as Regional President, said: “ICCO has been making giant strides in elevating the public relations profession, and now with the regional bodies there will be greater consistency in communications standards across the world. The aim would be to encourage discussions on the issues facing the industry and sharing the best practices across this region to elevate ICCO’s role in Global public relations.”
About ICCO
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations, agencies and networks in 48 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 2,500 PR firms.

Global Women in PR Gender Pay Gap Survey

Thursday September 29th 2016 – Leading international networking group GWPR (Global Women in PR) revealed today at the ICCO Global Summit, the results from their very first gender pay gap survey of men and women working in the Global PR industry. Data collected from 12 countries worldwide revealed a staggering £12,600 pay gap between the salaries of men and women.

The survey also provided an important insight into work/life balance and working practices, that might provide a clue as to why more women are not better represented at the top of a profession where they make up the majority of the workforce.

The survey, conducted by leading research company OnePoll on behalf of GWPR, revealed an average global PR salary of £57,200, with men earning on average 19% more at £67,600 compared to women at £55,000. Whilst salaries are very similar at a junior level in PR; when it comes to more senior roles it is a very different picture. For example, a male in-house Board PR Director earns an average salary of £110,000, compared to his female equivalent on £97,000 – a £13,000 pay gap.

The survey also showed that more than a third of men (36%) working in PR agencies are at board director level, compared to only 16% of women who have broken through the glass ceiling.

When considering asking for a promotion or pay rise, 21% of men were very confident in doing so, unlike women (10%). Further gender differences surrounded balancing childcare and work commitments. This was described as more challenging by women (78%) than men (58%). The sharing of domestic chores was fairly evenly split with 47% claiming to divide the chores, although 41% of the women surveyed believed they did more than half.

In today’s connected world one of the most surprising facts to emerge was the lack of opportunity to work from home. 70% were not allowed to work from home on a weekly basis, with 15% never allowed to do this. The average working week for a PR is 45 hours and an encouraging two-thirds believe they have a good work-life balance.

Commenting on the survey findings GWPR Co-Founders Angela Oakes and Susan Hardwick said: “The findings revealed a much higher pay gap than perhaps anticipated and considering the world in which we now operate, with 24hour access to technology, it is hard to see why there cannot be more flexibility in the workplace.

“Flexibility is very important, but so too is looking at the skill sets that women need to help them reach the top. Business training and tackling confidence issues are two key areas worthy of attention. Retaining talented women so that the boardroom has a better gender balance makes sound business sense. As many studies have shown – a balanced boardroom improves business performance.

“Current working practices have not led to any significant changes in the gender pay gap over the past decade and Deloitte’s report revealed last week that if things continue on the current path ‘Women will not be earning the same as men until 2069!’ We don’t think we can wait that long…..we need to act now to make the necessary changes.”

Francis Ingham, Director General of the PRCA and CEO of ICCO announced an important initiative last month that includes gender pay gap reporting in its kitemark accreditation for UK consultancies for the first time – this should be a global initiative.

About ICCO
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 48 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 2,500 PR firms.

ICCO announces new regional structure

ICCO is pleased to announce that it has launched a new regional structure for its organisation.

The new structure divides the world into five regions consisting of the Americas, Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. Each region will have its own Regional Board with an elected President. It is then these Regional Presidents who will go on to elect the Global President for ICCO, a position that is held for two years.

As well as being the voice of ICCO in their region, each Regional President will support its members by putting on a conference and awards each year which will be held in their region. This will result in ICCO having six conferences each year, as well as six international awards programmes.

The purpose of this change in structure is to ensure that all regions, organisations, and individuals represented by ICCO, can create and develop their own voice for the benefit of the regional and global PR and communications industry.

Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO, Director General, PRCA, said: “Ensuring that ICCO members receive the best services has always been at the forefront of our goals. I believe that this new regional structure will ensure that every member can access the very best insight, resulting in both depth and breadth of knowledge. Crucially, this new structure will allow us both to service our greatly-increased number of members, and also to grow even further in the future.”

About ICCO
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 48 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 2,500 PR firms.

ICCO Welcomes Hungarian PR Association as New Member

The Hungarian Public Relations Association – Magyar Public Relations Szövetség (HuPRA / MPRSZ) has joined the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) as its 34th national member.

This announcement comes as ICCO prepares for its first Board Meeting of the year, taking place in Athens, Greece next month.

Collectively ICCO now represents over 2,500 agencies globally, as well as nine direct consultancy and network members with an international agenda.

Zsófia Lakatos, President of the Hungarian PR Association and Managing Director of Emerald Public Relations said: “We are extremely delighted to join ICCO. In the last few years the Hungarian PR Association turned in a more professional direction. We organise more events, provide market insights to our members and we focus more on international relations. Three ambassadors have been appointed to liaise with our international partners. Joining ICCO is a great step towards our aim to provide global approach, standards, best practices and hopefully business leads too.”

ICCO President Maxim Behar said: “We all welcome our Hungarian friends to the global family of ICCO and are sure that it is a great step ahead in the development of the PR business in the country. The Hungarian PR market is very well developed and we hope to see them playing a significant role both in the ICCO Global Summit later this year, and also many Hungarian companies competing to win some of the ICCO Global Awards.”

ICCO offers its members market insights and ethical standards, as well as professional training to allow local PR consultancies to develop within their region and also internationally.

ICCO Chief Executive Francis Ingham said: “HuPRA is the seventh national association to join ICCO in the last three years – a record of growth which reflects ICCO’s increasing strength. ICCO is now indisputably the largest and most dynamic international PR membership body in the world, set for even further growth in the years ahead.”

Andras Sztaniszlav, the Hungarian PR Association ambassador to the international market, will represent Hungary on the ICCO Board of Management.


About ICCO
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 33 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 2,500 PR firms.



World PR Report 2015: Interpublic Agencies Make Top 10 Inroads (via Holmes Report)

Weber Shandwick narrows the gap on Edelman at the top of our global PR rankings, as the World PR Report gears up to launch.

World PR Report 2015: Interpublic Agencies Make Top 10 InroadsInterpublic PR agencies Weber Shandwick and Golin have made significant advances among the world’s ten largest public relations firms, according to the 2015 World PR Report.​
Top10_tableWeber Shandwick has narrowed the gap on Edelman at the top of the global PR agency rankings, growing almost 15% (on a reported basis, including the acquisition of Swedish PR firm Prime) to reach $800m in fee income. Edelman, by comparison, grew almost 9% to $812m.Golin, meanwhile, enters the top 10 for the first time in the agency’s history, jumping from 12th position last year after growing by more than 8% in 2014, to take ninth position ahead of Havas PR and Brunswick, which drops out of the top 10.Also of note was FleishmanHillard’s performance. The Omnicom Group firm returned to significant growth in 2014, improving fee income by 8.5% to crack the $600m barrier and consolidate its hold on third spot.

FleishmanHillard sister agency Ketchum also grew, by 4.5%, enough to see the latter PR firm overtake MSLGroup and land fourth position. MSLGroup declined almost 7%, thanks in part to a significant foreign exchange impact, because of the high proportion of revenues that it earns in euros.

Overall, we estimate that the top 10 global PR firms generated fee income of almost $4.8bn, a 5.4% increase on 2013. A fuller picture of global PR industry size will emerge next month, when the World PR Report unveils the annual ranking of the 250 biggest PR firms in the world, along with results of the definitive global survey of attitudes and trends among PR agencies, based on submissions from almost 400 PR firms from across the world.

The global rankings form part of the World PR Report, conducted in conjunction with Holmes Report and powered by Newlio.

ICCO announces latest new members: Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria, H+K Strategies, Golin and Grayling.

New Business

Speaking at the bi-annual ICCO Board Meeting in Vienna last week, ICCO Chief Executive Francis Ingham announced ICCO’s newest PR association member: The Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN).

Following PRCAN inclusion, ICCO now represents 31 national PR associations, collectively representing over 2,000 agencies around the world.

For the first time in its history, ICCO is now inviting consultancies with an international agenda to join as Direct Members. ICCO are proud to welcome Golin, Grayling and H+K Strategies as Founding Direct Members.

Francis Ingham said: “We are delighted to welcome PRCAN, H+K Strategies, Golin and Grayling to the ICCO family. ICCO continues to grow in size, relevance and vibrancy, and we have great plans for the future. The international PR community needs a unified, truly global voice. That is ICCO’s mission –a mission on which we are delivering.”

If you are interested in joining ICCO as a Direct Member, contact Steve Miller MPRCA – ICCO Membership & Partnerships Director



The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 31 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australasia. Collectively, these associations represent over 2,000 PR firms. Contact Binta Kristin Hammerich, ICCO General Manager



Lobbying Regulation: An Update on Developments in Ireland

On March 11th, Ireland became the 15th country with statutory regulations covering lobbying activities when the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 was signed into law. This law will take effect on September 1st 2015 and from that point onward, lobbying activities in Ireland will need to be reported every four months. Given that such regulation is a common issue for ICCO members there are some features of the Irish legislation, and the process surrounding it, that will be of interest. Separately, there are aspects of the Irish legislation that will have implications for consultancies based elsewhere, in particular those that engage with Irish ministers and MEPs on European policy matters.

Firstly, there was the approach taken to the legislation by the Irish Government. In 2011, a new government came into office and promised to “introduce a statutory register of lobbyists”. While there had been a number of initiatives in this area in the past, the relevant Minister and public officials came to addressing this challenge with a fairly open mind. At all stages of the legislative process, there were opportunities for stakeholders (including ourselves) to input. That whole process, including all the discussion papers and stakeholder submissions, is documented on the relevant Department’s website.

As the representative body for PR consultancies, our key concern was to ensure that there was a level playing field among all those who engage in lobbying activities: irrespective of whether they worked in-house or in a consultancy, or for NGOs, businesses, etc. The final legislation clearly applies to all those who engage in lobbying activities. We were also concerned that other professionals who engage in lobbying activities would not be captured by the legislation, but this is not the case and they are equally covered.

The other major concern was to ensure that compliance does not pose a major administrative burden on our members. We won’t know the final answer to that until the system is up and running. The Register will be entirely online, which should aid compliance and we are actively engaged in the user testing of that system.

In terms of the legislation itself, the Act can be accessed here. To briefly summarise, lobbying is defined as communication (in any form) made personally (directly or indirectly) to a designated public official in return for payment or as part of their work, relating to:

  1. “the initiation, development or modification of any public policy or of any public programme
  2. the preparation of an enactment, or
  3. the award of any grant, loan or other financial support, contract or other agreement, or of any licence or other authorisation involving public funds

apart from matters relating only to the implementation of any such policy, programme, enactment or award of a technical nature.”

Obviously, there may be challenges of interpretation i.e. what is a technical matter, and where is the boundary between lobbying on the modification of a policy and lobbying on its implementation.

The communication is not all communication with government, rather it has to be with senior public officials for it to be registerable. These officials are defined as government ministers, any elected member of the parliament or local government, MEPs and senior civil servants. When reporting their lobbying activities, consultants will be required to provide:

  • the details of the client (i.e. the company name and address, their website and other contact details);
  • the details of the officials to whom the activities were directed;
  • the subject matter of those activities;
  • the type and extent of those activities (i.e. whether the contact was through meetings, phone calls, emails, grassroots campaigns, etc.); and
  • the name of the person who had primary responsibility for carrying out the lobbying activities.

This data will then be published every four months. It is important to note that this legislation will apply as equally to firms engaged in lobbying based outside of Ireland, as those inside. So, for example, in the case of a consultancy elsewhere in Europe that contacts an Irish Minister or an Irish MEP about a policy change at European level, they will have to be report to the Irish authorities or an offence will have been committed.

The real challenge is the implementation of the legislation and we will keep ICCO members abreast of how things develop. In the interim, as this is the newest piece of legislation on lobbying out there, and borrows heavily from international experience, it is likely to be drawn upon by legislators in other countries – especially those from common law jurisdictions. We are more than happy to share the experience we have gained during this process with any fellow ICCO members: just ask!

John Carroll is CEO of the Public Relations Consultants Association (Ireland). He can be contacted at

Young Lions PR competition springboards fresh talent for a 2nd year; ICCO continues partnership


The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has announced, that after a successful launch year, the Young Lions PR Competition is set to return at the 2015 Festival.Offering its support and commitment, the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO), will continue its partnership with the 2015 competition.

Steve Latham, director of talent & training, Cannes Lions said: “The competition provides a real opportunity for young PR professionals to showcase their talent on a global stage. With a carefully chosen charity providing the brief, it’s also humbling to know that the work they produce can make a real difference – with the charity being given the option to adopt and use the winning campaign. I’m delighted that the ICCO are on-board for a second year, helping us to once again springboard both talent and awareness.”Competitors, who are first decided at regional competitions, are given 24 hours in Cannes to pit their skills against each other and show how PR can be effectively used to engage audiences with an organisation or a specific topic that the ‘client’ is dealing with. They are then asked to present to a dedicated jury who will decide which team is worthy of taking Gold.

David Gallagher, president of ICCO said: “ICCO is committed to promoting the value of PR consultancy worldwide and we see the Young Lions PR competition as an opportunity to show a little swagger under a global spotlight.  Last year’s debut was a smash hit and we’re eager to give our gifted young professionals an opportunity to shine again in 2015.”

ICCO, the representative body of forward thinking PR agencies, will be present at Cannes Lions with its “House of PR” cabana situated at the beachfront alongside the pavilion. This will be the place to meet prominent representatives of the PR industry and learn more about ICCO international activities. PR delegates attending the Festival are welcome to visit and attend networking events from 22 -24 June. More information is available at the ICCO Guide to Cannes website.

Cannes Lions will take place from 21-27 June in Cannes, France. A comprehensive learning programme designed to accelerate essential training across all career levels and disciplines is available during the event, as well as Young Lions Competitions for Print, Media, Cyber, Film, Design and Marketers. Further information on how to be part of it can be found at