Ruder Finn is in negotiations with the embattled government of the Maldives after the country called for crisis PR help earlier this month to bolster its critical tourism industry.
The Maldives Marketing and PR Corp. floated an RFP for a three-month PR contract to “instill confidence” the country’s economically crucial tourism industry in early April, as well as to “gain understanding and public acknowledgement of the Maldives from the international community.”
Emmanuel Tchividjian, senior VP and chief ethics officer for Ruder Finn, confirmed that RF is in discussions with the Maldives government. “We believe Ruder Finn could contribute positively to the people of the Maldives, a country that depends on tourism for the bulk of its economy,” he said. “Similar to many other countries, the Maldives is going through a period of change.”
Street protests over the president’s ouster of a top judge in the South Asian country led the president’s resignation in February, but the new government will not hold elections.
Tchividjian said the firm closely examined the “complexity” of the current political situation in the country and was “encouraged” by its “focus on ensuring stability, democracy and transparency in the Maldives, including a free press.”
Minivan News, an independent news source in the country, reported that the government was considering PR agencies in India, China and the U.S.
“There are diverse points of views surrounding the circumstances around the change of government and a commission of inquiry is looking into this,” said Tchividjian. “We believe in a democratic process where all voices can be heard.”
Despite the political crisis, the country remains a top voice for climate change issues because of its vulnerability as a sea-level archipelago. On a visit to the U.S. in late March, the former president, Mohamed Nasheed, met with State Dept. officials.
“The United States continues to call for restraint by all sides to prevent possible violence, to allow parliament to operate unhindered, and to use Maldivian democratic institutions to resolve differences peacefully,” said a State Dept. spokesperson.
Campaign Palace (U.K.) and Hill + Knowlton Strategies have advised the Maldives government in the past decade.