Features of European Public Relations based on the Bled Manifesto
Public relations practice in Europe has been present for more than a hundred years, but despite its long history, little is known about public relations in Europe. The teaching of public relations in European countries is largely US-centered and American textbooks are used to study both the concept and practice of public relations. Those books place the development of public relations in the United States, and some even state that modern public relations came over to Europe after the World War II with the Marshall aid.
The Delphi study on public relations, in which participants (mostly academics, some are professional public relations researchers or practitioners) from 25 European countries clarified public relations issues descriptively and normatively, is the basis for the Bled Manifesto which gives an answer to the question if public relations in Europe is just an Anglo-American concept or whether European concept of public relations really exists.
The first issue raised is the naming of the field in European countries. Public relations is not a widely used name for the field in Europe and it is often replaced by terms like communication management or corporate communication or integrated communication and even these are not considered to be good terms either. Names for public relations in Germanic and Slavonic languages mean relations with the public (for example, the German term for public relations Őffentlichkeitsarbeit, means public work, and is explained as working in public, with the public and for the public). This contradicts the US understanding of public relations as management of relationships between an organization and its publics. Another important issue here is a cultural issue. Őffentlichkeit does not mean public but public sphere. The reasoning behind this is that public relations is not only about relations with the public, but that it is relations in the public sphere...
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