The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has today announced its latest measure to support the self-employed and those made redundant as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Effective immediately, the PRCA will offer six months of free individual membership to anyone who has lost their job in the industry, or to anyone who is self-employed and has seen a significant decline in their income.

The offer is open to members and non-members alike, and the PRCA will take the word of self-employed practitioners that they have suffered losses.

Announcing the measure, PRCA Director General, Francis Ingham MPRCA, said:

“Sadly, plenty of people in our industry have already lost their job or their income, or will do so in the coming months. To help those people access resources, keep up their professional development, and interact virtually with their peers, we’re offering them 6 months free individual membership. This offer is open to anyone who has lost their job, or who has seen a significant decline in their self-employed income. They do not have to be PRCA individual members currently, and it doesn’t matter if their previous employer was a corporate PRCA member either.

“There is no small print – we shall take accept people’s own judgement when they say they’ve lost a ‘significant’ amount of self-employed income for example. It’s important that all of us in the PR community do our best for one-another, and this is our attempt to do just that, so that people can pick up new jobs and new contracts as quickly as possible.”

For information on how to take up this offer, please email

The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is the world’s largest professional PR body.

We represent more than 35,000 PR professionals in 66 countries worldwide. With offices in London, Singapore, Dubai, and Buenos Aires, we are a global advocate for excellence in public relations.

Our mission is to create a more professional, ethical, and prosperous PR industry. We champion – and enforce – professional standards in the UK and overseas through our Professional Charter and Code of Conduct. The Code compels members to adhere to the highest standards of ethical practice.

We deliver exceptional training, authoritative industry data, and global networking and development opportunities. We also manage the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO), the umbrella body for 40 PR associations across the world, and LG Comms – the UK’s national body for authorities raising standards of local government communication.

For more information, visit our website.

Protecting Your Organization’s Communications Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic – 7 Steps to Follow

Jeddah – Saudi Arabia:

The COVID-19 pandemic has escalated faster than anyone anticipated, with the World Health Organization declaring the outbreak a global health emergency. W7Worldwide’s Crisis Communications Division has released a new report to help corporate communications units, both in the public and private sectors, to overcome and manage the growing complications of this crisis.

The report, titled “Handling COVID-19 Crisis Communications” (Click Here to Read Full Report), gives an overview of a number of challenges facing organizations across all industries, which include a drop in business activity, disruption in global supply chains, curtailment of travel, canceled events, infected employees, and in the worst case, a business shut-down.

Moreover, the report provides a seven-step guide to help organizations navigate through one of the largest and worst pandemics witnessed by the world in recent history. This will require developing realistic, decisive and timely external and internal communications plans that aim to prevent uncertainty and loss of the public trust as circumstances change.

In the report, W7Worldwide Crisis Communications Division’s team highlight the importance of creating a central information hub for organizations where the workforce and stakeholders can find all the information they need. Additionally, the report stressed the necessity of establishing a guiding task force of decision-makers, which is led by the CEO and includes the communications, HR, and IT functions. Rapid decision-making is critical as each day brings new information to light that may impact your business practices.

The report also notes the significance of assigning a dedicated spokesperson who can address any concerns and provide reassurances to the media and stakeholders. Furthermore, a crisis management plan should be put in place to cover all the likely scenarios that may play out due to the consequences of the spread of the virus.

The report also examines the growing risk of the deadly coronavirus as the global economy shudders in reaction to its spread. GCC governments have introduced various support measures for enterprises to mitigate any negative impact on the economy, whilst protecting public health. Businesses across the region will need to act fast and adapt their operations and services in line with the steps taken by their respective governments to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Industry research: COVID-19 significantly impacts PR industry in MENA

PRCA MENA has announced the results of its COVID-19 survey which aims to provide a better understanding of how communications professionals and organisations are coping with the current pandemic.

The survey –which gathered the views of in-house and agency professionals in MENA- revealed that organisations have been significantly impacted by the pandemic, with 49% of respondents saying operations within their organisation have been affected.

According to the survey, the industry is somewhat prepared (30%) for dealing with the pandemic. However, 19% of respondents said that the industry was not prepared at all.

The research also revealed:

  • 38% of respondents said their own organisation was very prepared in dealing with the outbreak, followed by 22% who said their organisation was somewhat prepared.
  • Similarly, 62% said their own organisation’s communication function was somewhat prepared for dealing with the outbreak.
  • The majority (73%) of organisations have implemented remote working policies in an effort to deal with the outbreak. 64% have cancelled events, and 30% have instigated travel bans.
  • Most organisations are updating their crisis communications plans with 43% of respondents saying that they have made good progress in doing so. A further 16% said their plans were fully updated.


Hayley Clements MPRCA, General Manager, PRCA MENA said:

“The survey results show that the global pandemic is seriously affecting the PR and communications industry. The industry needs support during these difficult times and the PRCA is ready to provide that support. We have launched our global taskforce, which will provide global guidance, best-practice, advocacy, and support for the public relations profession over the coming months. We’ve also established a weekly call, where agency heads and comms directors from around the world can compare notes, and share how their own organisations are responding -a tangible benefit of being part of the world’s largest PR body.”

The PRCA has launched a Global Covid-19 Public Communications Taskforce in response to Covid-19. This Taskforce will provide free practical support to practitioners around the world. It has also created a resources hub to ensure members are kept informed about the ongoing outbreak.

You can find more information here.


The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) have issued a joint statement praising the efforts of communications professionals during the coronavirus outbreak. The two bodies have also published an open letter to the Chancellor calling for more support for freelance practitioners.

Joint statement:

The coronavirus outbreak and the extraordinary measures brought in to protect public health have had an unprecedented impact on the public relations industry. 

PR organisations across the UK have already lost staff, while up to 8,500 freelancers face the prospect of losing clients and being unable to support themselves or their families. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with communications professionals in all sectors and will do all in our power to protect the industry.

Many of our members have a frontline role in ensuring that the public have access to timely, reliable and transparent news. To those in frontline roles – your work will play a key role in our national effort to educate the public and encourage behaviour change to promote public health in the coming weeks and months. Your commitment to ethical communication in the public interest is appreciated and we encourage you to work together where possible to continue those efforts. 

We will continue to push for the Government to commit the resources PR professionals need. We are reassured by the Prime Minister’s assessment that we hope to defeat the virus in a matter of weeks. The Government has committed to protecting businesses, jobs and salaries – we now urgently need them to do more to protect our freelance community and home-based businesses. 

Our profession plays a significant role in the economy, and touches every sector in the country. The importance of trustworthy and ethical communication at this time could not be clearer. Managing a crisis requires strategic communication to provide certainty to the public, influence public opinion, and inspire changes in behaviour. Our members will have a crucial role to play in rebuilding the economy in the coming months. 

We have been heartened to witness the support the community has provided to each other and to those who need it the most. You are a credit to the profession. 
Francis Ingham MPRCA  
Director General, Public Relations and Communications Association
Alastair McCapra   
CEO, Chartered Institute of Public Relations  

Hayley Clements will be replace Melissa Cannon as the new General Manager of PRCA

Melissa Cannon MPRCA, General Manager, PRCA MENA, is leaving the association after leading PRCA MENA to greater growth over the last two years.
Cannon will be replaced as General Manager by Hayley Clements MPRCA, who brings a wealth of experience managing events for iconic hotels in London and Dubai, and prominent business conferences. Hayley’s most recent position was held at Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) – the world’s leading business hub.

Cannon is leaving the PRCA to travel and begin a freelance career. Omar Qirem FPRCA, Chairman, PRCA MENA, said: “I’m certainly going to miss Melissa, who has been a driving force in strengthening PRCA MENA’s footprint in the region. Her focus, enthusiasm, and ability to bring people together was always apparent to our PRCA MENA members.

“I look forward to working with Hayley and continuing to build upon Melissa’s excellence.” Cannon said: “I’m really proud of what PRCA MENA has achieved in my time here, especially with our introduction into Lebanon and forming an inaugural PRCA MENA Board. I would like to thank all the PRCA members, who I’ve had the pleasure to work with, and Francis Ingham, who has been a tremendous support to what we’re doing here.”

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA MENA, said: “I’m really sad to see Melissa go, as she has achieved so much as our General Manager, and given we have worked together so splendidly. With her leadership, we formed the PRCA MENA Board; grew membership around the region; launched the digital awards; and massively extended our range of services.

“I wish her the very best for the future. I look forward to working with her successor Hayley as we build on PRCA MENA’s stature as the industry’s largest and most influential PR association, linking regional practitioners to the world’s largest PR association and the ICCO family of 41 associations.”

Hayley said: “I’m thrilled to be joining such a strong and dynamic team, and I look forward to leading the association into a really exciting phase. Mel has left PRCA MENA in terrific shape, allowing me the opportunity to bring something new to the table, whilst further expanding and strengthening PRCA MENA’s role in raising the communications standards of the region.”

Dubai, UAE, 17TH February 2020, Dubai based PR agency Brazen MENA has just turned five and has launched its new ‘trailblazing PR’ proposition to celebrate. The five times small consultancy of the year for MEPRA and PRCA MENA has also rebranded to Brazen MENA to reflect the agency’s outreach across the region.  The agency creates meaningful connections and influence for brands and offers public relations, social media, influencer engagement and events.


Louise Jacobson, Managing Partner of Brazen MENA comments: “Brazen MENA has blazed trails in the region since we launched in 2015, so we felt that trailblazing PR was the right proposition to reflect our innovative and results driven approach. Our delivery of award-winning creative strategy for our clients ensures the right impact and cut through is made, which is why we’re lucky enough to work with amazing brands such as Disney and Atlantis, The Palm.


“Brazen MENA’s ethos is built upon a foundation of hard work, talent and forward-thinking from our multi-cultural team who come from backgrounds in PR, events, media and influencer marketing, and our unique culture is built on a bedrock of respect, honesty and open-mindedness ensuring a dynamic work environment.


“We’ve had an incredible five years in the region, and I’m incredibly grateful for the support from the industry, clients and my trailblazing team, and I can’t wait to see what the next five years have in store.”


Brazen MENA has a brand new website and video shot by renowned fashion videographer Hyku D.  The new website can be found at and Instagram is @brazenprmena


The PRCA MENA Awards 2020 celebrated the very best individuals, teams, and campaigns from the PR and communications industry from across the Middle East and North Africa.

Leading practitioners attended the awards at the W Dubai – The Palm on the evening of Wednesday, 5th February.

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said: “The PR industry in the Middle East and North Africa is in fantastic shape. Without exception, the quality of work showcased at last night’s PRCA awards was world-beating. We congratulate all of the winners for raising the bar even higher.”

The full list of winners can be seen below.

Best PR Campaign: B2C Edelman – #RSATravelPhotoFails

Best PR Campaign: B2B ASDA’A BCW – Networ

Best Integrated Campaign Jotun Paints – Master Painter

Best PR Campaign: Influencer Relations Q Communications – DHL Express, Mo Salah: The Social Human Network

Best PR Campaign: Digital Weber Shandwick MENA – How to break the internet in Saudi Arabia / Netflix

Best PR Campaign: Crisis Communications Hill+Knowlton Strategies – Best of BAKU

Best PR Campaign: Game Changer M&C Saatchi Public Relations – MOBILY – #EVERYONESKINGDOM

Results on a budget Atteline – STEAMathalon, future-proofing he next generation

Best Regional Campaign Seven Media – Special Olympics World Games

Social Impact BPG Orange – Loreal #STEMINIST

Best PR Campaign: Media Relations Seven Media – Special Olympics World Games

Strategic Communications Campaign Cicero & Bernay Public Relations – Azizi Developments

Rising Star of the Year Markettiers – Hadeel Mansour

PR Leader of the Year Houbara Communications – Loretta Ahmed

Small Consultancy of the Year Brazen

Large Consultancy of the Year Hill+Knowlton Strategies

In-House Team of the Year Discovery





The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is the world’s largest professional PR body.

We represent more than 35,000 PR professionals in 66 countries worldwide. With offices in London, Singapore, Dubai, and Buenos Aires, we are a global advocate for excellence in public relations.

Our mission is to create a more professional, ethical, and prosperous PR industry. We champion – and enforce – professional standards in the UK and overseas through our Professional Charter and Code of Conduct. The Code compels members to adhere to the highest standards of ethical practice.

We deliver exceptional training, authoritative industry data, and global networking and development opportunities. We also manage the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO), the umbrella body for 40 PR associations across the world, and LG Comms – the UK’s national body for authorities raising standards of local government communication.

For more information, visit our website.

Grayling Dubai rebrands to Houbara Communications, the newest independent PR firm in Dubai


Houbara Communications launches in Dubai today, marking the entry of the first new independent communications agency of 2020 in the emirate. Houbara Communications is the culmination of months of planning following CEO Loretta Ahmed’s acquisition of Grayling Dubai from its parent company Huntsworth plc in 2019, one of the most talked about buy-outs of the year.


“The name Houbara reflects my ambition”, says founder Loretta Ahmed, “to build a business rooted in the Middle East but with talent and capabilities to serve clients both locally and internationally.


“We have evolved into a content marketing PR agency with digital and social strengths putting us at the forefront of such agencies in this fast-moving part of the world’. A restructure since the buy-out has seen Arian Hashemi, Creative Director, move the agency’s creative division under his ownership under the name ‘brand husl’, giving Houbara the same access to a stellar creative team for brand development projects.



“We need fast, innovative digital content creation capabilities, which we will continue to provide in-house, but all broader graphic design briefs will be served by brand husl which we now consider a sister agency. It’s the same people under the same roof but with a different operational structure that gives us greater flexibility,” commented Loretta.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), 27 January 2019: Samantha Bartel, Managing Partner & CEO Instinctif Partners MENA, has been appointed to the Regional Board of leading industry body Public Relations and Communications Association MENA (PRCA MENA). The regional board is composed of senior agency and in-house leaders who are encouraged to help set the strategic direction of PRCA MENA as the organisation continues its expansion plans.


Samantha joined Instinctif Partners in 2013, founding the MENA regional team. The team has since grown to 20 people, servicing a breadth of clients across the entire region.


She has 20 years of financial and corporate communications experience in a range of markets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Prior to joining Instinctif, Samantha was a senior member of M:Communications Gulf team and Managing Director of Buchanan Middle East, where she advised numerous local, regional and international clients on their corporate, financial and crisis communications strategies.


In addition to her new role on the PRCA Regional Board, Samantha also holds Board Memberships at MEIRA (Middle East Investor Relations Association), Saudi Chapter and Global Women in PR MENA.


Samantha Bartel, Managing Partner & CEO Instinctif Partners MENA said: ‘I am delighted to join the PRCA MENA regional board. This is an excellent opportunity to help shape the thinking of the future communications industry, encourage collaboration and further support future PR leaders from across the MENA region.’


She added: “We are committed to best practice PR and to raising the standards in the work we do with our clients. I am particularly looking forward to driving positive change in our industry by working with the Board.’


Melissa Cannon MPRCA, General Manager, PRCA MENA, said, ‘It’s my pleasure to welcome Samantha as PRCA MENA’s latest Board Member. Her experience across a variety of regional boards and wealth of industry-knowledge will offer strategic guidance and insight to support our growth throughout the MENA Region.’


The PRCA is currently the world’s largest PR professional body, with the membership of over 30,000 consultants from across the world, including leading European companies and UK public sector organizations, as well as hundreds of public relations, communications and media professionals. It has launched its MENA branch in 2016 and operates in 66 countries around the world, with main offices in the UK, Singapore, and Dubai.

The Middle East and North Africa branch of the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA MENA), has welcomed ASA Ventures Chief Communications Officer, Nitin Nambiar as its newest Board Member.

With 16 years of international experience gained across media and marketing, Nitin has consulted to over 50 brands on go-to-market strategies, consumer engagement, and brand advocacy. He has spent over 9 years in the Middle East consulting to leading blue-chips on brand building and communications.

Nitin Nambiar MPRCA commented on his appointment: “I am honoured to be part of the board of management together with well-respected practitioners in the region. The media and marketing industry is going through a period of  accelerated change and it is key for industry associations to be able to recognize, discuss and share knowledge on these changes. Our responsibility as communicators in this evolving landscape has never been greater, so I hope that as part of the Board, we can rise to the challenge and make a difference.”

Melissa Cannon MPRCA, General Manager, PRCA MENA, said, “It’s my pleasure to welcome Nitin as PRCA MENA’s latest Board Member. His experience and industry-knowledge will offer a welcome insight into the Middle East’s PR and comms market.”