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The communications briefing: The future of journalism and the future of Facebook are debated this week

PR news this week, with thanks to Early Morning Media 


Future of journalism at stake
Steve Dempsey welcomed the publication of the UK Government's report on safeguarding the future of journalism and highlights other initiatives, like the Cairncross Review and the Knight Commission in the United States, to improve the quality of news coverage amid the digital revolution and to better realign the relationship between publishers and large tech companies. "Given the travails of the news industry in the developed world, the growth of the internet as an advertising powerhouse and as a vector for the spread of misinformation, plus the threatened extinction of local media outlets, it's vital that the points raised by the likes of the Cairncross Review and the Knight Commission are discussed by policymakers and civil society," he concludes.
The Independent

France to crack down on social media
France is to impose stricter regulation of abusive posts on social media to end “online impunity” and compel platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to take down hateful posts. The move follows an outcry over a Facebook group called The League of LOL, frequented by journalists and public relations executives and known for bullying women online with pornographic memes and comments about rape culture. Mounir Mahjoubi, the digital affairs minister, said the government was considering changing the legal status of social networks to make them more accountable for user-generated content. A bill which is to be presented to the French parliament by the end of June will be partly inspired by existing German legislation, said Marlène Schiappa, the minister for gender equality.
The Daily Telegraph   Yahoo News

Facebook needs regulation, UK MPs assert
MPs on the UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee have agreed that Facebook needs stricter regulation – with tough and urgent action necessary to end the spread of disinformation on its platform. The committee concluded that founder Mark Zuckerberg has failed to show "leadership or personal responsibility" over fake news and warned that untrue stories from foreign powers were a risk to UK democracy. Separately, UK culture secretary Jeremy Wright is to warn Mark Zuckerberg that the "era of self-regulation is over" as ministers plan new laws to protect the safety of people who use social media. Mr Wright has flown out to San Francisco with digital minister Margot James to meet with companies in Silicon Valley.
BBC News   CNN

New evidence could be 'smoking gun' in adtech GDPR case
Privacy advocates claim that the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) knew it would be violating the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, but did so anyway. In an updated complaint, filed against the group as well as Google, new evidence shows that the ad system used by Google and the IAB, the real-time bidding (RTB) system deployed by virtually every internet advertising company, shares sensitive personal data hundreds of billions of times a day.
The Register   Mashable


PR drama could be 'worst TV show ever made'
GQ's associate editor Stuart McGurk describes the new Anna Paquin-starring PR drama Flack, set in a London celebrity PR firm, as "so terrible it might just be unmissable." Detailing several "embarrassingly" sleazy plot features, he says: "I'm going to have to watch episode two just to see what happens."
GQ Magazine

All change for Royal aides
Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex's interim private secretary Samantha Cohen, assistant private secretary to the Queen from 2011 until 2018, will stay on to help the Royal couple until the birth of their baby this spring. The unusually high turnover of staff at Kensington Palace has earned the Duchess of Sussex the moniker “Duchess Difficult” in the press. Separately, the Palace has announced that a former bookies’ public relations executive will join the Royal staff. Donal McCabe, who was employed by betting firm Ladbrokes Coral, has been given the post as communications secretary to the Queen.
Vanity Fair   The Sun   Daily Express

Dentsu Aegis expands north
Dentsu Aegis has acquired Manchester-based creative agency BJL to expand its offering in the north of England. Its current consumer and business-to-business clients include The Co-operative Bank, Skipton Building Society and Hilton. BJL’s leadership team, which completed a management buyout of the agency in 2004, will retain their current roles while the firm’s Manchester and London divisions will remain in their existing offices.
City AM

Lagerfeld leaves smart legacy
Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s creative director since 1983, died aged 85 in Paris after a celebrated career in fashion that spanned seven decades. Mr Lagerfeld, a feted, but sometimes controversial figure, passed away on Tuesday morning after being admitted to hospital the night before. More About Advertising looks back at some of the more notable ads produced by Chanel during his time with the company, including 2004’s Baz Luhrmann-directed film for Coco perfume. Starring Nicole Kidman, it is said to be the most expensive commercial ever made, costing anything up to $33m. 
More About Advertising   YouTube


Australia stubs out bad habit
The Telegraph recalled Australia’s first anti-smoking campaign, “Every cigarette is doing you damage”, launched by the John Howard-led government in 1997. The A$9m campaign starred Yul Brynner, who had died of lung cancer 12 years earlier, brought on by a smoking habit he started at age 12. It is thought to have saved A$740m in direct healthcare costs, and prevented 55,000 deaths.
The Daily Telegraph

Reputational risk

Influencers' dangerous forays into medical promotions considered
In a wide-reaching blog post, Suzanne Zuppello explores how large pharmaceutical firms are increasingly partnering with seemingly unaccountable social media influencers to help promote new drugs and medical devices. Advances in social media are surpassing government regulation however, she warns, and both FTC and FDA guidelines are "no more than that." For consumers to protect themselves in ways regulatory agencies cannot, Zuppello concludes, they must be reminded that "influencing" is a paid role. "Our clicks and likes and follows may or may not improve our own lives, in spite of what captions lead us to believe, but our engagement will always benefit the bottom line of influencers and the companies they work for," she cautions.

Brands face backlash about racial insensitivity
Prada is launching an advisory group on diversity following a furore after the luxury brand displayed a monkey figurine that was said to have a resemblance to blackface. Bloomberg notes that more European fashion brands are being criticized by consumers for products and marketing seen as racially insensitive. Gucci has also said it will step up efforts around racial sensitivity after releasing a turtleneck sweater seen as resembling blackface.

This briefing has been prepared by Early Morning Media.  If you are interested in a customised bespoke news briefing for you or your client across any vertical, please contact

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