Vladamir Putin is championing press freedom by bestowing an annual state prize on a journalist, Mikahil Beketov who was nearly beaten to death following his investigative reporting into official corruption. Beketov suffered brain damage in the attack and has since had his leg amputated.
Though Putin awarded the prize with little fanfare, Beketov’s peers have been vocal, dismissing the prize as an insulting PR stunt. ‘Absolutely cynical” some journalists claimed, “the people who crippled him are still free and some of them occupy important political positions”.
And with that skilful precise sound-bite…..Putin’s lame PR stunt is immediately neutralized.
The PR Verdict: “A Plus” for Beketov’s supporters. One clear sentence with a call to action has won the PR war. If Putin was really committed to press freedom he might have saved himself the prize money and reiterated his personal committment to bringing Beketov’s attackers to justice.
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