ICCO suspends Russian PR association
LONDON — The International Communications Consultancy Organization (ICCO) has suspended the membership of Russia’s public relations body, the Association of Public Relations Consultancy Companies (AKOS), indefinitely with effect immediate.
The decision was taken by ICCO’s executive committee today following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week, following concerns from a number of member organizations that AKOS had failed to distance themselves from the actions of the Russian government.
ICCO Chairman Nitin Mantri (pictured) said: “ICCO was founded and operates on the principles of truth, trust and integrity. Today’s decision is motivated by the belief that international law and human rights must always be respected.
He added: “Our hearts go out to everyone who is suffering because of the invasion. This decision was not taken lightly. ICCO wishes to publicly declare its support for a large number of Russian communication professionals who oppose the actions of their government. Yet we must strongly condemn any agency involved in the proliferation of disinformation or the suppression of free speech.
“I hope this can be resolved, but I don’t see us going back on this decision in the short term, based on the amount of misinformation circulating and the sanctions from Europe and the United States. Many of our members have offices in Russia and I’m sure a lot of them don’t support this regime, but we had to.
ICCO Managing Director Francis Ingham added: “We condemn the actions of the Russian government in the strongest possible terms. ICCO is committed to the principle of international law and has a responsibility to its members and the public to send a clear message that this activity is not tolerated. ICCO does not tolerate membership in associations that do not oppose inexcusable violations of international law and human rights. »
AKOS has not yet responded to a request for comment.