Count me in as a believer that Bahrain’s royalty is going to work things out with the Shiite majority that has waged a bloody Arab Spring uprising for more than a year.
That’s because I’m a fan of Lord Tim Bell, CEO of Chime Communications, owner of Bell Pottinger.
Among the luminaries at the 20th Public Relations World Congress in Dubai on March 14, Bell conceded that some clients are controversial. BellPott, for instance, has worked for Middle East hotspot Bahrain.
Bell believes all are entitled to PR representation. The kicker: he only takes on “dark arts” clients after receiving “assurances that they are ready to make changes to their policies or behavior, and then we are ready to work with them in repairing their reputations.”
Presto, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa yesterday claimed that political progress has been made in giving rights to the 70 percent Shiite majority that reside in the home of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. Reforms have been promised in the past, but the violence continued and hundreds were jailed.
Thanks to Bell’s talk of “assurances” things ought to be different this time. Let the Bahrain reputation repair job begin anew. On this first day of spring, hope springs eternal.
BellPott has been roundly criticized for work for rogue states like Bahrain, Yemen and Sri Lanka, which brutally smashed a revolt.
Little has been said of WPP, which owns an 18 percent chunk of Chime Communications, and is led by PR statesman Sir Martin Sorrell.