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Print media the most preferred channel among Lankan PR professionals: survey

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Print media has retained its supremacy as the most preferred channel among public relations (PR) professionals in Sri Lanka over other channels online, social media, TV/radio, and others, reveals a survey by the Asia Pacific branch of the world’s largest professional PR body- the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA).The survey carried out with the view of understanding and informing on the state of the PR industry in Sri Lanka has found that 79 per cent of PR practitioners preferred the print media which is one of the oldest means of disseminating information. It is a popular form of advertising that uses physically printed media.

The survey results said that 97 per cent of the respondents stated that the PR industry has become competitive over the recent years, with pricing, industry connections and influence playing a key role instead of talent and innovation. The results indicated that over 75 per cent PR professionals surveyed believed that their clients ‘somewhat’ understand the true potential and impact of PR, and that the pandemic and recent economic events have pushed companies to manage their reputation proactively.

“The findings give a hint that despite being a niche industry, the PR profession and landscape in the country is poised for exponential growth given that some of the diverse challenges and suggestions are addressed timely. We at PRCA APAC will actively be involved in uplifting the standards together with the agencies and other stakeholders,’ said APAC chapter country representative of PRCA Thanzyl Thajudeen.

Most of the clients were seen engaging with on-going PR activities, followed by reputation building, brand positioning, crisis response and mitigation, and internal communications, Thajudeen said. He added that 88 per cent of those surveyed have been involved or encountered clients requesting crisis response PR strategies with 76% mentioning internal communications plans.

“The challenges the PR agencies’ clients were facing include budget cuts (91%), exchange rates (64%), import ban (55%), and retaining talent and finding customers (50%). Agencies cited client budget cuts (94%) as the biggest concern faced with the present volatile situation, followed by convincing clients the crucial role PR could play, payment delays, and employee turnover.

“Despite the many challenges and half the respondents feeling a burnout in their role, the PR industry is very optimistic. 79% stated that there are many new areas to learn within the discipline, citing that PR is becoming more social than digital and that it also requires an approach backed by analytics, accountability and ethics.This was well reflected when asked as to why they work where they work. Learning (79%) superseded all other factors such as agency reputation, networking, compensation, networking, job mobility, and workplace environment. 72% have also taken up self-paced learning activities recently, including networking with other industry peers in the last 12 months.

The PR professionals cited that the industry needs to work more towards knowledge sharing, collaborations and partnerships, and talent and capacity building (73%), with nearly half of them suggesting the need to uplift its ethical standards.The PRCA is the world’s largest professional PR body representing more than 35,000 PR professionals in 82 countries worldwide.



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Pakistan’s ex-president, Pervez Musharraf dies aged 79

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(picture BBC)

BBC reported that Pakistan’s former president General Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999, has died aged 79.

The former leader – who was president between 2001 and 2008 – died after a long illness, a statement from the country’s army said.

He had survived numerous assassination attempts, and found himself on the front line of the struggle between militant Islamists and the West.

He supported the US “war on terror” after 9/11 despite domestic opposition.

In 2008 he suffered defeat in the polls and left the country six months later.

When he returned in 2013 to try to contest the election, he was arrested and barred from standing. He was charged with high treason and was sentenced to death in absentia only for the decision to be overturned less than a month later.

He left Pakistan for Dubai in 2016 to seek medical treatment and had been living in exile in the country ever since.

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The 75th Anniversary of National Independence celebrated under the patronage of President, PM

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(picture Presidents Media)

The 75th National Independence Day celebration was held under the theme “Namo Namo Mata – A Step towards the Century”, under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Saturday morning (04) at Galle Face Green.

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Lanka sovereign bond holders write to the IMF

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ECONOMYNEXT –Sri Lanka’s bondholders have written to the International Monetary Fund expressing their willingness to engage in debt re-structuring talks but also raising matters related to the domestic debt re-structuring and economic assumptions and forecasts.

The group, styling itself as the “Ad Hoc Group of Sri Lanka Bondholders (the Bondholder Group) has written last week to the IMF Managing Director from New York said inter alia that the Bondholder Group through its Steering Committee stands ready to engage quickly and effectively with the Sri Lankan authorities to design and implement restructuring terms that would help Sri Lanka restore debt sustainability and allow the country to re-gain access to the international capital markets during the IMF Programme period.

The letter concluded with the paragraph: Recognizing the important commitments made by India in the India Letter, the Sri Lankan authorities will apply the principle of comparable treatment in respect of the debt relief requested and obtained from all their remaining official bilateral creditors.

Following is the text of the letter:

NEW YORK, Feb. 3, 2023

Dear Managing Director Georgieva,The Ad Hoc Group of Sri Lanka Bondholders (the “Bondholder Group”) acknowledges the Sri Lankan authorities’ engagement with their official creditors towards a resolution of the current crisis and restoration of debt sustainability.

The Bondholder Group further acknowledges that such engagement has recently resulted in the Government of India (in its letter to the IMF, dated January 16, 2023 (the “India Letter”)) delivering letters of financing assurances, committing to support Sri Lanka and contribute to its efforts to restore debt sustainability by providing debt relief and financing consistent with the IMF Extended Fund Facility Arrangement (the “IMF Programme”) and the IMF Programme targets indicated in the India Letter.

Similarly, the Bondholder Group through its Steering Committee stands ready to engage quickly and effectively with the Sri Lankan authorities to design and implement restructuring terms that would help Sri Lanka restore debt sustainability and allow the country to re-gain access to the international capital markets during the IMF Programme period.

Based on the limited information available to us at this time, including information contained in the India Letter, we understand that the IMF Programme’s debt sustainability targets are identified as

(i) reducing the ratio of public debt to GDP to 95% by 2032,

(ii) limiting the central government’s annual gross financing needs to GDP ratio to 13% in the period between 2027 and 2032, and central government annual foreign currency debt service at 4.5% of GDP in every year between 2027 and 2032 and

(iii) closing of the external financing gap.

The Bondholder Group hereby confirms it is prepared to engage, through its Steering Committee, with the Sri Lankan authorities in restructuring negotiations consistent with the parameters of an IMF Programme and the targets specified therein (the “IMF Programme Targets”), which the Bondholder Group understands to be the targets identified in the India Letter; it being recognized that these negotiations will necessarily be further informed by the receipt of the forthcoming DSA.

We would note that the finalization of an agreement will also be subject to the satisfaction of the following conditions:

The central government’s domestic debt – defined as debt governed by local law – is reorganized in a manner that both ensures debt sustainability and safeguards financial stability.

Assuming that annual gross financing needs should not exceed 13% of GDP in the period between 2027 and 2032, whilst allowing for central government annual foreign currency debt service to reach 4.5% of GDP in every year between 2027 and 2032, domestic gross financing should therefore be limited at 8.5% of GDP for the period 2027-2032.

While we recognize that the determination of the economic assumptions underpinning the IMF Programme Targets is ultimately the responsibility of the IMF and that the overall design of the IMF Programme is one that is negotiated between the IMF and Sri Lanka, it is nevertheless important that the Bondholder Group has the opportunity to express its views on both the economic assumptions underpinning these IMF Programme Targets and the adequacy and feasibility of the adjustment efforts contemplated under the IMF Programme.

When considering any restructuring proposal that is made to the Bondholder Group, it is the Bondholder Group’s intention to take into consideration the extent to which the economic assumptions and the adjustment efforts are consistent with these views.

Recognizing the important commitments made by India in the India Letter, the Sri Lankan authorities will apply the principle of comparable treatment in respect of the debt relief requested and obtained from all their remaining official bilateral creditors.

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