Business Magazine article “The uncertainty is still enormous”

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on May 5th, 2021 under Articles | No Comments »

In the Business Magazine latest edition, at the section about the challenges for the communication and marketing professions in 2021 and the priorities in the second year of the pandemic crisis, Aleksandra Hristov the director and owner of the Hristov consulting d.o.o. in her article has focused on the great uncertainty in the economy, and the imperative of redefining of the existing business and consequently communication strategies.

THE ABILITY TO ADAPT AND THE COMMUNICATION STRATEGY IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE SURVIVAL

“Never let a good crisis go to waste”, Winston Churchill said during the World War II, and he won in the end. It is always necessary to be brave, think outside the box, to find opportunity, and adapt to the new times.

We are almost in the middle of 2021., and the economies around the world are still trying to find the answer to several key questions – how long is this pandemic going to last, what is the depth of the economic crisis after the pandemic going to be, and at the very least how is that crisis going to effect the operations and survival of the specific industries and sectors. All these are undoubtedly the challenges for the corporations and their consultants that handle the strategic communications.

It is already a well known belief the Internet brought the changes that surpass those brought by the industrial revolution. Such abrupt advancements in history had always created socio-economic change that disrupted the functioning of the economies, society and the entire countries. The current pandemic only accelerated such environment that ensured internet presence, social networks and the new media shall increase as the preeminent channels of communication in the future.

However, this does not pertain equally and in the same manner to all the industries and organizations. Therefore, in order to meaningfully follow the trends and recognize new opportunities it is necessary for them to engage the qualified business consultants who can help give the efficient and timely guidance in change management and communication strategy during these turbulent times. It is almost guaranteed that the change is going to be profound, and that such challenges shall affect Serbia sometime shortly after the rest of Europe.

In the context of such developments, it is imperative to immediately prepare and establish the structured and continuous individual client tailored following, analysis and opportunities recognition of the pertinent business areas and related main venues of communication. Based on that, the client’s strategies of communication have to be closely monitored and adjusted in relation to particular companies’ and organizations’ needs. It has been proven during any uncertain times, the thinking outside the established patterns and “boxes” is usually one of the best options to consider. Nevertheless, the things that are certain to survive as paramount are the established trust, good business ethics, and the organizational culture that is bent on serving clients while remaining committed to its own employees’ satisfaction.

The economic crisis of 2008., like every previous time of change, has shown that the science and art of the public strategic communication is absolutely crucial for the survival and future path to new found success of any serious business, organization and institution.

Aleksandra Hristov
CEO, Hristov consulting, member of the  Association of Management  Consultants of Serbia

Propaganda and the public: The enemy of the public interest that is hard to overcome

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on May 24th, 2020 under Articles | No Comments »

The Hristov Consulting team is made of the consultants with many years of experience in the area of strategic communication and media.
The organizational culture of the firm is based on shared ethical work values that enable us to always provide to our clients, in their business and institutional endeavors, the unquestionable added value.
We are proud to announce the text authored by our senior consultant Ms. Gordana Lazarevic, recently published in the latest issue of “Novi Magazin“, titled
.

The most important fact, which is both the beginning and outcome of every discussion about propaganda, is that it is conflicting with journalism, equally incompatible with public relations, equally irreconcilable with marketing and promotion and most of all, that it is an enemy of the public good and society as a whole.
Propaganda is the systemic manipulation of people which intentionally pollutes facts, utters half-truths and spreads fake news. It does incorporate accurate information, but incompletely, chosen to validate the message of propaganda. There is no particular need to further remark on why this is harmful to the public’s interest, at the core of which lies the right for us to be correctly informed and to make decisions based on this information.
This should be the end of every discussion on propaganda, with a possible recollection of historical examples and an analysis of the harm it inflicts whenever utilised. As the scope of propaganda grew, so did its harmful effects. In today’s world, however, this does not end the story, as we don’t have that “happy ending”. We cannot say that we have learned from previous generations’ experience nor that we have grasped the moral within the situations we had witnessed ourselves.
CONSTRAINED CITIZENS: Of course, as in the past, the primary outlet for propaganda has been the media, which has changed and evolved, but the significance of this “utility” has remained constant. The reason for this is perfectly logical – the media is the fastest and most efficient way to spread messages. The only “catch” is that news outlets should not be allowed to do this since it is utterly contradictory with their central and most important mission – to provide the public with truthful, timely and complete information on all questions of public interest. This also means that their task should be to recognise propaganda and expose it. All of is because people should make decisions not based on intuition, but rather information and reason. Now, of course, there is no news outlet out there that does not claim to do just that, and as consumers of media, whether through our professions or as citizens, we chose whom we believe.
In Serbia today, the mood is such that most people would claim not to believe any outlet fully. Media outlets have lost the public’s trust for various reasons, and not only propaganda is to blame for this. A large amount, one could even say too large, of classic news outlets have encountered, due to the advent of social media, an extreme amount of competition, causing a great crisis in which they fight for survival in a non-journalistic fashion, with quantity rather than quality – a quantity of unprofessionally put-together articles and reports. And here we see fertile ground for propaganda. This crisis trickles down even to outlets that labour to serve their function professionally. They have fewer “followers” and therefore, less influence, smaller capacities and a limited reach. Their access to relevant sources is restrained, as well.
I’m afraid that at the moment, I’m in the defeatist camp, as I don’t see an escape out of this situation. Invoking self-regulation in media and or personal ethics of journalists seems to me like a fight with an immortal and armed-to-the-teeth robot against an inept kid armed with only a pure conscience. On the other hand, one can’t remain silent lest they become an accessory, or even the one guilty of the murder of truth. This applies, I have to emphasise, especially to people working in public relations, whether in agencies, companies, organisations or institutions.
PROPAGANDISTS VS. THE MEDIA: I don’t know exactly when, but certainly more than a decade ago, when I was still working in journalism, there came a moment when so-called PRs started to intensively work toward dictating the news to media outlets. I am not saying that this had never happened before, but it seemed to be on a whole different level. We were suddenly getting all these requests and pressure on journalists to “integrally” publish what they had sent or said. They also started “defending” their clients by breaking off all contact with journalists or only speaking to select ones, over whom they had some control.
By a significant margin, most PRs at the time did their job incorrectly. What we had wasn’t “public relations” work guided by ethics or professionality. I had the impression that all this wasn’t done by PRs but by the executors of their clients’ bidding. Instead of representing a bridge between the media and the public on one hand, and their clients on the other, they represented a gigantic ramp that is raised only for some. And when it is raised, they tightly control what can and cannot pass through – and there is no guarantee that what does pass is truthful and complete information. Among their clients, the role of the PR was also understood and accepted in completely the wrong way – as a marketing tool even for falsities, packaged as sparse announcements or addresses in bought time-spaces of electronic media, with already formulated “appropriate” questions. Of course, not all PRs or their clients acted in this way. The dominant impression was, however, that this was the “business model” of the majority. As time passed, nothing had improved.
Many people presenting themselves as PRs work as “propagandists” (I am not sure if this word exists on any list of professions). Their arsenal of weapons is getting larger, but all of it mostly comes down to finances, on which, of course, all news outlets rely. And yes, I do think that this model is entirely OPPOSED to the media and entirely OPPOSED to the public’s interests. I am also certain that we, as a society, are paying the price for the propaganda we view, listen to or read, but I sure as well that we are yet to pay the full price. Here lies my curiosity, will we as a society be able to at some point recognise this or will we be so manipulated and “overfed” that we’ll haul propaganda around with us forever? That said, I’m unsure as to whether I, even with my tenure in media and information, always recognise propaganda.
QUESTIONS WITHOUT ANSWERS: Though I see no escape, I still harbour some hope. It is personified by the part of society that performs their work professionally, whatever that work may be. Such people exist, to be sure, both in journalism and in PR. To be precise, in PR, my line of work, for every door we need opened, we use the truth, verified and complete information as keys. We build the reputation of our clients on their actions, but also the insistence on always laying out the full truth and standing by everything released to the public. We will advise them on how to address the public, we will help them be available, we will answer every question from journalists, but we will not allow the “bending” of the truth to their detriment, nor their benefit. We will fight so that the media receive information on our clients because it is reliable and important to the public interest, not because it is paid for or “whitewashed”.
The previous paragraph may seem to many as an advertisement, in which we claim to be better than others. No, this is not my goal. I believe this is how all skilled PRs work. Furthermore, those who truly need the services of a genuine PR look for and can find one here and all over the world. The question lies in when to “secede” from the “propagandists” and propaganda, and this is a question both for the media and PR. I’m afraid that, as of yet, no such answer exists, neither domestically or globally.
Gordana Lazarević
The author is a consultant at Hristov Consulting.

How to communicate with the stakeholders workshop for the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on March 3rd, 2020 under Events | No Comments »

Belgrade – the director of Hristov Consulting, Ms. Aleksandra Hristov, the certified management consultant (CMC) in the area of strategic communications, had recently conducted the workshop “How to communicate with the stakeholders” for the members of the Executive Board and the Secretariat of the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS).
The workshop has included defining and analyzing the notions of stakeholder and the targeted activities, interactions of such activities and organisations, ways of conducting the influence on stakeholders, and how to communicate and deal with them. This interactive workshop was originally created for the companies’ managements, any organisations, institutions and individuals.
“I am very pleased that I got this opportunity to, as a former journalist and long time member of NUNS, have this workshop that could help this organisation develop and progress. The mission of NUNS is to, by taking the strong and proactive action in public, increase the rights of its members and all media workers in Serbia, while systemically advancing the professional standards and promoting the ethically responsible journalism.
The workshop “How to communicate with the stakeholders” is interactive, therefore all participants, through their conversations and practice sheets, got the practical guidelines and tools for successful communication with their stakeholders.

Biznis Magazin and Ekonometar Magazines Fifteenth birthday

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on February 25th, 2020 under Events | No Comments »

Ekonometar and Magazin Biznis Magazines celebrated 15 years of successful publishing on Monday February 24th.
At Belgrade’s Crown Plaza Hotel, in front of a large audience, it was presented that for over a decade and a half, these magazines have been an important source of information for business people as well as anyone else interested in economy and entrepreneurship
On this occasion, the traditional awards of “Planet Business” were awarded. This year the winners are: Dragan Filipovic, General Manager of Generally Insurance, Djordjo Markedjani, Director of DDOR, Zoja Kukic, Program Director for Startup Development “Digital Serbia”, Zorica Selakovic, owner of “Dezert” company in Cacak and Goran Jovic, director of Regional Chamber of Commerce of Pcinja and Jablanica District.
Founder of these magazines, Radojka Nikolic, editor-in-chief, expressed her satisfaction that these magazines were able to survive in difficult circumstances and to have an enviable rating on the Serbian media scene in the category of economic and business press. She expressed hope that Serbia had higher rates of economic growth and emphasized that as a society we should turn more to the economy than politics.
As part of the celebration, a mini panel was held on Serbian economy before and now, led by Aleksandar Vlahovic former Minister of Economy and Privatization, and Marko Cadez the current President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, who is also the face of the latest front page.
Congratulates to Biznis Magazin and Ekonometar  Magazines for decade and a half of successful work, with the belief that it will be even more successful in the future.

Serbias Notaries have performed 367,121 free document certifications in 2019

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on February 13th, 2020 under Events | No Comments »

Notaries of Serbia achieved remarkable results during 2019, as evidenced by the fact that during that period they issued more than 250,000 documents, in the form of records and solemnization, which implies the drawing up, verification and confirmation of real estate contracts, lifelong support and other contracts in other property relationships.
The 250,000 cases registered in the General Business Register of 197 Serbian notaries are significant not only as statistics but also as an indicator of the extent to which notaries of Serbia have contributed to the increase of legal certainty in real estate transactions and other affairs, said the President of the Serbian Chamber of Notaries Srbislav Cvejic, presenting some of the most important results of notaries in 2019.
Cvejić also said that due to the work of notaries, fraudulent real estate sales were avoided and that the number of court proceedings regarding contractual disputes was significantly reduced.
The SCN President emphasized the great support and assistance provided by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia from the outset, which continues to work on improving the technical capacity of the notary system, as well as on strengthening the position and expanding the competences and network of notaries.
Cvejic recalled that Serbia’s notaries celebrated 5 years since the introduction of notaries in the legal system in 2019, and it is clear that in that short time they were able to fulfill the most important functions – to protect the rights of parties, to speed up and control legal transactions and unburden the judiciary system. In five years, Serbia’s notaries have done more than eight million legal transactions under their jurisdiction, most of them certifications – about 7 million.
The great success of Serbian Chamber of Notaries in Serbia is that in 2019 they were able to complete as many as 367,121 certifications of documents, thus relieving the state institutions, especially during period of high school and college enrollment. In 2019, in June and July, more than 122,000 free copies of documents were notarized across Serbia, while some 245,000 documents were completed in the remaining 10 months.
In addition to the documents for the first enrollment in high schools and colleges, notaries notarized documents for the purposes of the competition for admission to dorms and student standards institutions, as well as for the competition for the use of student scholarships and loans. In addition to certification of these documents, certifications for enrollment in pre-school institutions and primary schools are also performed free of charge, as well as certification of signatures and transcripts or photocopies of documents used for social security, social protection, veterans-disabled protection and protection of civilian war invalids.
Notaries publicly certify, free of charge, documents for providing financial support for a family with children, as well as the documentation for victims of domestic violence. In addition, it is free of charge to certify the documents of unemployed persons necessary for the establishment of an employment relationship, or other rights conferred on that basis.
According to the President of the SCN, the results achieved in the last five years prove the extent to which both the public notary system in Serbia and the work of the Chamber of Notaries were developed in a short time. Cvejic emphasized the efficient work of a large number of notary offices, which were able to speed up the implementation of inheritance procedures, for which they are entrusted by the courts. “Inheritance procedures for public notaries are now effectively conducted, ending in a very short time,” Cvejic said.
The goal of the Serbian Chamber of Notaries is to further work on the advancement of the profession, and to fill more vacancies for notaries, which should be 370, for the territory of the entire Republic of Serbia. “Expanding the network of notaries is one of our priorities. We must work to ensure that public notaries are equally accessible to all citizens, “Cvejic said.
According to the president of the SCN, the Chamber has faced many challenges in the past years, the biggest one that citizens accept them as professionals, lawyers who improve legal certainty with their work. “We believe that we have made great strides in this direction so far, and we can promise that we will continue to work hard in the future and that we will strengthen our network and capacities,” Cvejic added.
The SCN also continuously provides training for notaries and notary assistants and associates, and constantly works to harmonize notary public practice. “It is extremely important for the Chamber to control the work of all notaries. We demand strict compliance with all laws and regulations by our members and sanction any violation of regulations within our ranks, “said Cvejic.

Fonet published opinion editorial about disinformation and propaganda

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on February 8th, 2020 under Articles | No Comments »

FoNet, the oldest private news agency in Serbia with the independent editorial policy, has recently published the digested version of my opinion editorial from the leading Serbian weekly Novi Magazin.
p030220.062
SRB- KIOSK – MEDIA
IN THE SERVICE OF CONFLICT
BELGRADE, February 03, 2020
The governments around the world are currently the most serious creators of the fake news and propaganda content, suggests Ms. Aleksandra Hristov, the Internationally Certified Management Consultant in the area of Strategic Communication.
Ms. Hristov, the director of Hristov Consulting, in her analysis „PR in the service of Conflict“, explains  that   the media should work in the public interest, while PR generally works in the interest of its clients. Where these interests overlap, cooperation is both necessary and possible, stated Hristov in her recent opinion editorial for Serbian weekly Novi Magazin.
However, she warned we are often confronted with the situation whereby our profession is used as  an instrument in the hands of those who have their own specific goals, and who do not hesitate to choose any means to achieve them.
As a rule, stated Hristov, those who knowingly agree to be an instrument of the special interests, without following the professional  codes, are eventually always abused and victimized by their own clients.
Whereas, the PR sector, if it does its job properly, is an ally of the media, and contributing to the safeguarding of the public interest and the development of the society as a whole.
Hristov goes on to conclude that the European Union officials very often do not see or understand how much the freedom of the media in Serbia is endangered, including the undermining of the public benefit and the democracy itself. In addition to that, the most of the principles prescribed by the laws and the codes are habitually not applied in practise, or to a lesser extent even abused. When bots, trolls and other “helpers” are added to this, it’s almost impossible to explain to the visiting foreign officials and experts what this is all about.
Referring to the existing EU Study, she notes that elements of disinformation and propaganda includes the information that is designed to be wholly or partially false, manipulative or misleading, or is using the unethical retelling techniques
Ms. Hristov has emphasised that the disinformation and propaganda are always intended to create insecurity, hostility or polarization in the society, or is attempting to disrupt the democratic processes. They are spread and / or amplified by the automated and aggressive techniques, such as social bots, artificial intelligence, micro-targeting, or paid human “trolls”, and are used to increase the public visibility of its sources.
Additionally, she mentions the public statement made by Richard Stengel, a former chief editor of The Time magazine and the undersecretary of State during the Obama administration, who defined disinformation as an intentional fraudulent content used to deceive someone. Furthermore, Stengel connects the raise of the authoritarian leaders to the spread of internet and sophisticated methods of using of the media and information in general.
Leaders in these situations limit the dissemination of information they do not want, while promoting the information they desire, which is a very dangerous combination.
The end 15:24

Mineco Group representatives meeting the Serbian press

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on January 27th, 2020 under Events | No Comments »

Hristov Consulting organized a meeting of Serbian media editors with leaders of the British company Mineco, one of the largest investors in the mining sector in the Western Balkans, at the Zepter Hotel in Belgrade on Thursday, January 16th.
Informal annual meeting of the Mineco Group CEO’s with media representatives was held for the fifth time, and traditionally. Mineco Group CEO Bojan Popovic spoke about Mineco’s results last year, while Mineco’s operations director Dominic Roberts briefed journalists on developments in the global market of metals, but also on the use of innovative technological solutions and on the penetration of new technologies in mining.
Invitation for this informal gathering was answered by 30 editors and journalists of the most influential Serbian media, including the economic ones, who expressed satisfaction with the exceptional communication they have with the Mineco leaders. After the meeting, a large number of news articles on this event appeared in the Serbian media.

PR In the Service of Conflict

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on January 24th, 2020 under Articles | No Comments »

Aleksandra Hristov article in the leading Serbian weekly magazine: Novi Magazin
In our public domain, we often hear the assessment that European officials coming to Belgrade do not see or understand how much the freedom of media in Serbia is endangered, including undermining of the public benefits and the democracy itself. One possible explanation would be the fact that in their countries this is no longer a topic they are dealing with, and in Serbia all this is “formally – legally” – all right.
The new media strategy is about to be adopted, despite the big battle currently underway for the survival of the Press Council, a self-regulatory body that is currently the only such entity doing its job professionally.  Existing media laws and codes have been drafted to European standards, while everybody is questioning the functioning of the Electronic Media Regulatory Body (REM) and of the public media service (RTS).
The fact that most of the principles prescribed by laws and codes are not practically applied, or to a lesser extent even abused, it is difficult to present this case to those in whose countries the mainstream media, the courts and the public are functioning in a democratic manner. When bots, trolls and other “satraps” come up, it’s really almost impossible to tell strangers what this is about.
THE CONFLICT OF TWO PRINCIPLES
The main focus in their countries, as well as in the European Union as a whole, is how to deal with propaganda, misinformation and spreading fake news on online platforms and how to resolve the conflict between two principles underlying democracy, namely freedom of speech and the right of citizens to be timely and objectively informed. It is difficult for them to explain that in our country there is actually a problem in the main pillars on which the informing of our citizens rests, which is the traditional media where our society is mostly informed for the time being.
According to a survey by the Plum Mark agency at the end of 2018, 4.2 million citizens of Serbia are online, of which 73 percent are from urban areas. The majority of citizens, according to a survey by Ipsos, still receive information through television, or 5 million. According to a December 2018 survey by Ipsos, the internet reaches up to 4.9 million people, radio up to 3.6, magazines 2.5 and daily newspapers reach up to 1.3 million. However, Serbian citizens are following the trends when it comes to online information, which is constantly growing as a source of information.
The European Union is solving the problems of misinformation and propaganda, but mostly in the sphere of social media dissemination. Thus, one study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs was “Disinformation and Propaganda – impact on the functioning of the rule of law in the EU and its Member States”. This study examines the effects on the functioning of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights.
THE ELEMENTS OF DISINFORMATION
According to the Study, elements of disinformation and propaganda are information that is designed to be wholly or partially false, manipulative or misleading, or is using unethical retelling techniques; deal with an issue of public interest; are intended to create insecurity, hostility or polarization in society, or is attempting to disrupt democratic processes. They are spread and / or amplified by automated and aggressive techniques, such as social bots, artificial intelligence, micro-targeting, or paid human “trolls”, which are often used to increase public visibility.
Additional manipulation of the domestic public is the misrepresentation of data on global trends advocated by some agencies and individuals in the PR sector as if things had already been resolved and that the whole world, including the media, was engaged in creating this PR content and marketing. However, the world media such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian have reformed and strengthened their online sphere due to the decline in print sales, but have returned primarily because of their insistence on the credibility and reliability of information. When you read the text online at The Guardian, you get a window asking: “We have chosen a different approach. Will you support it? Unlike many news organizations, we have decided to keep all our independent, research texts and reporting free and accessible to everyone. We believe that each of us, worldwide, has access to accurate information with integrity at its core. At a time when factual reporting is necessary, the support of our readers is crucial to preserving the editorial independence of the Guardian. This is our model of open and independent journalism. If you can, support Guardian today with at least 1 euro.”
On the other hand, the fight for the status of online platforms like Facebook is well underway and the outcome is uncertain. So after many years of resistance, the company had to defend its position before the US Congress last year, and only two weeks ago had to announce on its blog that it would still be removing videos that were modified by artificial intelligence known as deepfakes. “Deepfakes” are computer-generated clips designed to look real. Facebook will remove videos if it realizes that they have been edited so that they are not clear to average person, or if they have misled the viewer into thinking that the person in the video said words that they did not actually
INFORMATION WAR
At the same time, Richard Stengel, a former editor of The Time magazine and secretary of state for the Obama administration, in his latest book, Information Wars, describing his experiences with propaganda and misinformation on the internet, believes that Facebook, like other social media, should bear the responsibility for publishing content and it is not enough to remove content that promotes violence. According to him, recently reported on CNN, online platforms, although they do not provide professional content as media, it does not mean that they are not the publishers of that content and that Facebook is the largest publisher in the history of mankind and it has an obligation to remove fake content, hate speech, deepfakes, and speech that incites violence. In his view, this implies a change to Part V of the Telecommunications Act passed in America in 1996, or Section 230 (Communication Decency Act), which grants immunity from liability to providers and users of “interactive computer services” who publish information from third parties.
Also, according to Stengel, companies should say whether someone is a “bot” or a human, who is buying information from them and for what purposes, and all political ads should be completely transparent. In his book, he distinguishes between “disinformation” and “misinformation” and “fake news”.
He considers disinformation to be intentional fraudulent content used to deceive someone. He considers misinformation an inadvertent mistake, while fake news is somewhere between the two terms. What is really worrying is misinformation.
Stengel links the emergence of authoritarian leaders to the development of the internet, but also to the sophisticated use of media and information. Leaders in these situations limit the dissemination of information they do not want, while promoting the information they want. It is, according to him, a very dangerous combination. This has not been done before and it is very scary. Every society must deal with it and combat these phenomena.
Countries in the world are currently the most serious creators of fake news and propaganda content.
ROLE OF PR
There are laws and codes in European countries that regulate the media and therefore the boundaries within which all those who cooperate within them move. This includes political parties and politicians, companies, civil society organizations, including individuals engaged in PR, agencies and PR services.
All the postulates that are valid in the world, especially in Europe, apply very little here in Serbia, probably until the European Union forces us.
Working in the communications sector in Serbia relies on good contacts with the media, placing marketing news for clients with advertising, and avoiding confrontation with the political actors currently in power. This is crucial in order to obtain jobs and to achieve permitted, or illicit, goals for bosses, clients, and to sell services (ads) at any cost. This model has worked in Serbia for decades, with an increasingly brutal character. The basic postulates of the PR profession, as well as the codes, do not exist at all, even though we have a formally domestic code of profession, with the ICCO (International Communication Consultancy Organization) Helsinki Declaration of more than 3,000 PR agencies from 66 countries.
According to the Sector-wide Declaration, all professionals are required, among other things, to adhere to the highest professional standards in public relations and communications practices and to never engage in the creation and dissemination of fake news. Also, professionals are obliged to respect the truth, to treat employees, colleagues, clients, media, government and the public in a fair and transparent manner and to always show who are the true sponsors and advocates of particular interests. They should never engage in troubling activities such as bot-ing, and should use social media responsibly.
SANCTIONS FOR UNETHICAL PR BEHAVIOR
Although it is not obvious to us that there are sanctions for non-compliance with these standards, around the world there is an increase in sanctioning for violating the basic postulates of the profession. Thus, due to unethical behavior and the so-called “black PR”, ICCO has expelled from its membership one of the most influential and powerful PR agencies in the world, the British multinational PR firm Bell Pottinger, which went bankrupt in 2017. The company, according to BBC and Guardian reports, has been accused of spreading racial hatred in South Africa and producing fake news, including running false Twitter accounts, when working for a client (a private company).
It is the duty of the PR to point out to clients where the boundaries of media collaboration are and to always reject clients who demand unethical behavior. Both local and international codes of conduct are bound by this premise. In Serbia, we also have Article 51 of the Constitution which states:
Everyone has the right to be truthfully, fully and timely informed about matters of public importance and the media are required to respect that right.
The fact is that the media should work in the public interest, and that PR should work in the interest of its clients. Where these interests overlap, cooperation is both necessary and possible. However, it is often the case that our profession is only an instrument in the hands of those who have certain goals and do choose any means to achieve them. As a rule, those who knowingly agree to be an instrument, without following the code, are abused and eventually victimized by their clients.
The PR sector, if it does its job properly, is an ally of the media, contributing to the safeguarding of the public interest and the development of society as a whole.
The text is part of the “Propaganda as Enemy, Communication as Media Ally” Project, where the New Magazine seeks to promote the importance of implementing media laws and codes, as well as the need to apply international standards in media-PR relations, whether from political parties or from businesses. The project is funded by the US Embassy in Belgrade.

Mineco Group has fulfilled its Plans for 2019

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on January 16th, 2020 under Events | No Comments »

The British company Mineco Group, one of the largest mining investors in Serbia and the Western Balkans, is pleased with the results achieved in 2019, as it fulfilled its investment plans and the mines in the Group had certain sales of products.
“In terms of Mineco results in this region during 2019, this was a year of great and many small challenges. First of all, it was successful because we managed to provide certain sales of the products from our mines and to maintain the level of planned investments, although the situation on the market for the metals we deal with, became even more complex due to disruptions in the US-China trade relations”, said Mineco Group Director Bojan Popovic in Belgrade today.
Popović reminded that Mineco achieved the best results in 2017 since its establishment, while in the second half of 2018, prices on the international market of non-ferrous metals decreased, which directly affected the mines resulting in lower revenues. “This trend continued into 2019, but it did not slow Mineco’s development programme,” he added.
The mines operating within Mineco Group at full capacity – Rudnik Mine and Flotation near Gornji Milanovac, Veliki Majdan near Ljubovija and Gross Mine near Srebrenica, have continued a number of successful years – having fulfilled their production plans, continued exploration works and confirmed mine reserves.
Popović pointed out that Rudnik Mine on the Mountain of Rudnik achieved a special success because it managed to discover and confirm new mineral resources. “Four years ago, geological services followed with concern the diminishing reserves in ore bodies, but with great effort and millions of investments, new mineral resources have been found and now they are already being exploited. Now, this old mine has reserves confirmed for at least another ten years of production of lead, zinc and, to a lesser extent, copper concentrates, while future explorations will be focused on verifying the existence of other ore bodies based on new indications”, said Popović.
According to him, the impetus in the mineral exploration activity has inspired Mineco to include this activity in its regular business operations over the past two years – by purchasing sophisticated rigs for drilling at depths up to 500 meters, but also by engaging expert staff and retraining new personnel to perform these site work activities.
These expert teams have facilitated accelerated explorations on the Rudnik Mountain and at other sites, primarily near Foča in the Republic of Srpska, where Mineco has a concession for exploration and mining of lead, zinc and copper ores.
Mineco Director also said that he was particularly pleased that the construction of a brand new cerussite mine, lead oxide mineral, in Olovo, north of Sarajevo and a Plant for processing of that ore into lead concentrate was completed.
The first new mine with underground exploitation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the last 30 years was opened almost two years ago, but for the processing of ore in that mine it was necessary to construct a completely new gravity separation plant, which was purchased in South Africa. The delivery of this equipment to the mine was very complex and kilometres of forest roads were built. “Now all of the individual systems are installed in one technological unit at the mine site, and the production of concentrate has been commissioned and our experts are currently optimizing production parameters and the further training of operational personnel is underway“, said Popović.
As for another mine in this region that Mineco is developing, the Bosil-Metal mine in the Municipality of Bosilegrad, Popović recalled that a year and a half ago, a pilot project for flotation ore processing was commissioned, and a Feasibility Study Concerning the Construction of Commercial Lead, Zinc and Copper Ore Flotation Process was ordered and prepared during the last year.
“During this year, the Main Mining Project for the Bosil-Metal mine and the Environmental Impact Study will be prepared and all necessary approvals of the competent ministries of the Republic of Serbia for the construction of a commercial plant will be provided”, said Popovic, noting that the construction work has been planned for the third or fourth quarter of this year, in order that the commercial operation of the Mine could commence during 2021.
Mineco Director also estimated that 2020 might not bring a significant rise in metal prices on the world markets, but it is important for this company to successfully control the development of its projects. “This will give us an opportunity for two major capital projects to move into the revenue phase, which is an excellent basis for further development of other projects in the coming years,” said Popović.

Hristov Consulting on media language at the Serbian Chamber of Notaries Symposium

Posted by Aleksandra Hristov on December 15th, 2019 under Events | No Comments »

Serbian Chamber of Notaries Symposium, over the weekend of 14th and 15th December 2019, at the mountain Kopaonik (Serbia) resort, had their Fourth yearly symposium where they discussed the rules of the notaries practice, their role in taxation process, and creating and use of the electronic documents.
Within the format of the symposium, the Hristov Consulting consultants, that have cooperation with the Serbian Chamber of Notaries since June 2018., gave their presentation about the results of their work, and on the subjects of the language of the media and the professional attorneys’ terminology in media environment.
“Ever since we collaborate with SCN, jointly and within the media deadlines, we have responded to more than 40 journalists’ requests, and we had created and distributed 15 press releases about NPA and notaries activities”,  Gordana Lazarević, Hristov Consulting consultant said.
Ms. Lazarevic added that Hristov Consulting has received a positive feedback from the journalists following NPA, who all agreed they regularly receive timely and precise information without any avoiding of answering all the questions.
However, journalists stated that on some occasions the answers tended to be overly complicated and elaborate, fact that motivated Hristov Consulting to, on this symposium, devote attention to the questions of the language in the media and use of the professional terminology, with intent to limit its use and explanations.
There was also a debate in reference to the language style related to the particular media profile, and how to avoid any confusion among journalists and wider public while following the various media.
At the symposium the notaries and their assistants from 133 offices in Serbia were present and actively took part in various panels.

Serbian Chamber of Notaries Symposium, over the weekend of 14th and 15th December 2019, at the mountain Kopaonik (Serbia) resort, had their Fourth yearly symposium where they discussed the rules of the notaries practice, their role in taxation process, and creating and use of the electronic documents.
Within the format of the symposium, the Hristov Consulting consultants, that have cooperation with the Serbian Chamber of Notaries since June 2018., gave their presentation about the results of their work, and on the subjects of the language of the media and the professional attorneys’ terminology in media environment.
“Ever since we collaborate with SCN, jointly and within the media deadlines, we have responded to more than 40 journalists’ requests, and we had created and distributed 15 press releases about NPA and notaries activities”,  Gordana Lazarević, Hristov Consulting consultant said.

Ms. Lazarevic added that Hristov Consulting has received a positive feedback from the journalists following NPA, who all agreed they regularly receive timely and precise information without any avoiding of answering all the questions.
However, journalists stated that on some occasions the answers tended to be overly complicated and elaborate, fact that motivated Hristov Consulting to, on this symposium, devote attention to the questions of the language in the media and use of the professional terminology, with intent to limit its use and explanations.There was also a debate in reference to the language style related to the particular media profile, and how to avoid any confusion among journalists and wider public while following the various media.
At the symposium the notaries and their assistants from 133 offices in Serbia were present and actively took part in various panels.

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