Why you need to take care over this most sensitive of subjects

By Simon Meredith | 15th March 2022

A handful of stories are now popping up on channel news sites about the ways in which IT companies are supporting Ukraine and its people. Comms Dealer ran a story on how one operator is helping refugees fleeing the conflict, and Techcentral.ie (which covers Ireland) ran one on how an AI company is providing Ukraine’s defence ministry with access to facial recognition software.

While readers are likely to respond positively to this coverage, it is important to make sure that any story you do put out there is entirely sincere. If you are genuinely offering to help, by all means tell the media. At the same time, you must take care that you are not seen to be taking advantage of the circumstances for your own gain.

It’s not always easy to get the balance right in these situations. If increased cyberactivity is expected, security vendors and services providers will be duty-bound to sound the alarm. We have already seen commentary about this in the national and international press, and in the channel media too – see this CRN report, and this one on Microscope, for example.

At the same time, channel companies must not be seen to be exploiting rising concern to boost their profile. Simply saying that customers should take further measures to shore-up their defences is not going to cut it as a story. Any such advice needs to be delivered directly to customers and even then, with the utmost care.

As far as PR and media is concerned, this is one of those scenarios in which you need to wait until you are asked for your viewpoint or advice. You are only going to be approached to do that if you have already built a strong reputation and established a good connection with channel media. Doing that takes time and patience. You certainly cannot and should not do it on the back of a very real and serious crisis.

If you want to discuss any issues or dilemmas you might have on your current media stance, do get in touch. We’ll be happy to offer you impartial advice with no obligation. Email simon@channelstar.co.uk or use the contact form here https://channelstar.co.uk/contact/.

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