Overview of the Communication Management Bill 2023

communication management

The public relations and communication management (PRCM) profession in Kenya is set to undergo a major transformation if the Communication Management Bill 2023 is passed by the Parliament. The Communication Management Bill 2023, which was approved by the Cabinet of Kenya on August 9, 2023, seeks to establish standards and regulations for the PRCM practice in the country. Here are some of the key features and implications of the bill:

Setting Standards and Regulation

The bill aims to promote, set standards and regulate the PRCM profession in Kenya, which currently lacks a legal framework for its operation. According to the Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK), the existing professional body for PRCM practitioners, it does not have “the legal instrument to enable it to enforce professional ethics and standards in the practice of Public Relations and Communication Management in the country.” The bill will address this gap by providing a clear definition of PRCM, its scope, functions, and principles.

Creation of Institute

The bill proposes the establishment of the Institute of Public Relations and Communication Management (IPRCM) as a self-regulatory body for the PRCM profession. The institute will be governed by a council composed of representatives from various stakeholders, including PRSK, government, academia, media, and civil society. The institute will also have a president, who will be elected by the members, and a chief executive officer, who will be appointed by the council.

Professionalization and Regulation

IPRCM will be responsible for professionalizing and regulating the PRCM practice in Kenya. It will do this by:

  • Accrediting PRCM practitioners based on their qualifications, experience, and competence.
  • Issuing practicing licenses and certificates of accreditation to qualified PRCM practitioners.
  • Renewing practicing licenses annually upon meeting specified conditions and paying prescribed fees.
  • Maintaining a register of PRCM practitioners and publishing it on its website.
  • Developing and enforcing a code of conduct for PRCM practitioners.
  • Providing training, education, research, and consultancy services for PRCM practitioners.
  • Promoting public awareness and appreciation of PRCM as a profession.

Information Hub

IPRCM will serve as the central authority for information related to the PRCM practice in the country. It will do this by:

  • Establishing and maintaining a database of PRCM practitioners, their profiles, portfolios, and achievements.
  • Publishing newsletters, journals, reports, and other publications on PRCM issues and trends.
  • Organizing conferences, seminars, workshops, and other events on PRCM topics and best practices.
  • Collaborating with local and international organizations on PRCM matters.

Challenges Addressed

The bill acknowledges the challenges facing the PRCM practice in Kenya, which include:

  • Lack of a legal framework for regulation
  • Lack of mechanisms to enforce a code of conduct
  • Lack of standards for training and qualification
  • Lack of recognition and respect for PRCM as a profession
  • Lack of coordination and collaboration among PRCM practitioners

The bill seeks to address these challenges by providing a comprehensive and coherent framework for PRCM practice in Kenya.

Examinations Board

The bill proposes the establishment of the Public Relations Management Practitioners Examinations Board as an independent body under IPRCM. The board will be responsible for:

  • Developing and administering examinations for PRCM practitioners
  • Setting examination entry requirements
  • Issuing examination certificates
  • Reviewing examination syllabuses and curricula

The board will consist of members appointed by IPRCM from various sectors related to PRCM.

Disciplinary and Ethics Committee

The bill provides for the creation of a Disciplinary and Ethics Committee as a sub-committee under IPRCM. The committee will be responsible for:

  • Receiving and investigating complaints against PRCM practitioners
  • Conducting inquiries into alleged professional misconduct
  • Making findings and recommendations on disciplinary actions
  • Imposing sanctions such as warnings, fines, suspension, or cancellation of practicing licenses
  • Hearing appeals from aggrieved parties

The committee will consist of members appointed by IPRCM from among its members.

Accreditation Criteria

The bill outlines eligibility criteria for accreditation as a Public Relations and Communication Management practitioner. These include:

  • Having a minimum qualification of a diploma or degree in public relations or communication or any other relevant field from a recognized institution
  • Having at least two years of relevant work experience in public relations or communication
  • Passing the examinations set by the Examinations Board
  • Adhering to the code of conduct set by IPRCM
  • Paying the prescribed fees

Practicing License

Upon accreditation, practitioners will receive a practicing license and a Certificate of Accreditation from IPRCM. The practicing license will be valid for one year and will need to be renewed annually, subject to meeting the following conditions:

  • Continuing professional development
  • Compliance with the code of conduct
  • Payment of the prescribed fees

The practicing license will authorize the practitioner to practice PRCM in Kenya and to use the title of Public Relations and Communication Management Professional.

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