Saudi Arabia is planning a worldwide communications campaign to counter its negative press coverage and is in the market for PR firms eager to handle the effort, according to the Financial Times.
The program calls for information “hubs” to be established in London, Berlin, Paris and Moscow, according to a document reviewed by the FT. Additional hubs could be established in Mumbai, Beijing and Tokyo in 2018.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The hubs would produce press releases, publish social media content and invite “influencers” to visit Saudi Arabia.
The information ministry wants PR firms to set up operations to “distribute the Saudi perspective on global developments in response to negative/inaccurate publications about the kingdom,” according to the document.
The PR initiative comes as Saudi Arabia spearheads an economic and political blockade against neighbor Qatar, and wages war in Yemen, where it has been accused of bombing civilians.
Andrew Bowen of the American Enterprise Institute told the FT that Saudi Arabia is losing the communications war with Qatar.
He noted that while the Saudis have gone negative, Qatar has “tried to take the moral ground." Qatar, according to Bowen, “so far is winning the war for western hearts and minds.”
Saudi Arabia uses Qorvis MSLGroup, Podesta and Harbour Group for PR in the US.