'News media fuelling the rise of populism' - CIPR AGM round-up

The failure of news media to engage large parts of society is fuelling populism, according to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism's (RISJ) Meera Selva. 

Reflecting on the findings of RISJ's Digital News Report (PDF) at the CIPR's Annual General Meeting, Selva said: "Large groups of society are completely ignored by news media". She explained: "no consideration is given to the interests of these groups and that has huge political ramifications". 

Selva also warned that social communication is becoming increasingly private with people continuing to turn away from Facebook. As a result, WhatsApp has become the primary social communication tool for news in many countries, including Brazil and South Africa but Selva suggests that has created another problem.  

“WhatsApp is used as a vehicle to spread fake news in countries such as India, Brazil and South Africa," said Selva. "Too often, misinformation is be weaponised for political causes in these regions.”

The keynote speech followed the formal proceedings of the CIPR's AGM, during which Laura Sutherland Chart.PR, FCIPR was awarded the 2019 Sir Stephen Tallents Medal for her outstanding contribution to public relations practice.

 Laura Sutherland Chart.PR, FCIPR (left) with CIPR President Emma Leech Found.Chart.PR, FCIPR

Laura - who has been a member of the Institute for 14 years - has led a number of voluntary projects of behalf of the CIPR. She is the former Chair of CIPR Scotland and the current Chair of the Institute's Fellows Forum. She is a passionate advocate of best practice and the founder of PR Fest - Scotland's annual PR Festival. 

The AGM began with former President Sarah Waddington Chart.PR, FCIPR reflecting on the Institute's success in 2018. "All our activity in 2018 was grounded in the principles of our Royal Charter," explained Sarah. She pointed to partnerships with the CBI and FSB, as well as initiatives such #PRpays, as evidence of the Institute's commitment to championing the strategic value of public relations to business.

The CIPR's Chief Executive Alastair McCapra reviewed the Institute's Financial accounts, which showed income rose to over £4.3m, while the organisation made a pre-tax surplus of £31,000. The Institute also completed its office move away from Russell Square in 2018 and the Chief Executive confirmed the move had reduced the CIPR's running costs by more than half. 


Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)
The CIPR is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).