Title Title
Reputation management by countries with difficult records "Reputation laundering" ahead of a foreign visit
Summary Summary
WikiTribune wants your help reporting on how nations with problematic reputations try to counter it  WikiTribune wants your helping reporting on how host nations positively depict foreign rulers when they come to visit
Highlights Highlights
Content Content
<strong>The visit to the UK of Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's crown prince, was accompanied by a carefully orchestrated <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/98fcff48-222a-11e8-9a70-08f715791301">campaign of advertisements</a> depicting him as a reformist. Pro-Saudi messages were placed on London billboards and black taxis, vans, and in the pages of British newspapers. Meanwhile, demonstrators protested outside Downing Street over Saudi Arabia's continuing involvement in Yemen's war, <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/03/08/united_kingdom/protestors-against-uk-support-for-prince-mohammad-bin-salman/53935/">accusing bin Salman of war crimes and calling him a "horrible dictator."</a></strong>  <strong>The visit to the UK of Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's crown prince, was accompanied by a carefully orchestrated <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/98fcff48-222a-11e8-9a70-08f715791301">campaign of adverts</a> depicting him as a reformist. Pro-Saudi messages were placed on London billboards and black taxis, vans and in the pages of British newspapers. Meanwhile, demonstrators protested outside Downing Street over Saudi Arabia's continuing involvement in Yemen's war, <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/03/08/united_kingdom/protestors-against-uk-support-for-prince-mohammad-bin-salman/53935/">accusing him of war crimes and calling him a "horrible dictator."</a></strong>
The phenomenon of what the marketing industry might call "reputation management," but which those who analyze countries with problematic histories call "reputation laundering," is well known. From former Yugoslavia to post-Gulf War Kuwait and a wide range of autocratic states, the practice is well documented. We'd welcome your help in reporting on the industry or if you have examples of it coinciding with an official visit by leader.  
https://twitter.com/annmarie/status/971343747731673088  
  We want your help reporting those previous occasions when host nations have helped burnish the credentials of visiting foreign leaders.
[contribute-c2a text="Tell us what should be in the story" buttons="talk"] [contribute-c2a text="Tell us what should be in the story" buttons="talk"]
https://twitter.com/EdConwaySky/status/970944350074089472  
<h2>Key instances we think are central to the story</h2> <h2>Key instances we think are central to the story</h2>
<ul> <ul>
<li>From the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, to the genocide in East Timor, public relations firms have a <a href="https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/5gkkzd/pr-firms-in-the-uk-are-spinning-stories-for-foreign-dictators-734">long history of helping controversial leaders</a> (<em>Vice</em>) improve their image abroad while overlooking displays of authoritarianism and atrocities.</li>   <li>From the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, to the genocide in East Timor, public relation firms have a <a href="https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/5gkkzd/pr-firms-in-the-uk-are-spinning-stories-for-foreign-dictators-734">long history of helping controversial leaders</a> (<em>Vice</em>) improve their image abroad while overlooking displays of authoritarianism and atrocities.</li>
<li>London is said to be at the forefront of this so-called "<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/sep/05/reputation-laundering-is-lucrative-business-for-london-pr-firms">reputation-laundering</a>" industry (<em>Guardian</em>) also known as "<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitewashing_(censorship)">whitewashing</a>".</li>   <li>London is said to be at the forefront of this so-called "<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/sep/05/reputation-laundering-is-lucrative-business-for-london-pr-firms">reputation-laundering</a>" industry (<em>Guardian</em>), with firms including Bell Pottinger <span style="font-weight: 400;">and Portland Communications leading. </span></li>
</ul> </ul>
<h2>Questions we'd like to ask</h2> <h2>Questions we'd like to ask</h2>
<ul> <ul>
<li>What are examples of controversial states where leaders promoted a positive image ahead of a foreign visit?</li>   <li>What are some of the more recent examples of controversial leaders promoting a positive image ahead of a foreign visit?</li>
<li>Out of these examples, can you share with us pictures of those advertisements which depicted these leaders?</li>   <li>Out of these examples, can you share with us pictures of those adverts which depicted these leaders?</li>
<li>What was the reaction from the public during the visits?</li>  <li>What was the reaction from the public during the visits?</li>
<li>Which other PR firms engage in "reputation-laundering" or as they would prefer, "reputation management".</li>   <li>Which other PR firms engage in "reputation-laundering"?</li>
</ul> </ul>
[contribute-c2a text="Add to this WikiProject" buttons="edit"] [contribute-c2a text="Add to this WikiProject" buttons="edit"]
Categories Categories
WikiProject Diplomacy, Politics, United Kingdom, WikiProject
Article type Article type
explainer explainer
Tags Tags
  Bell Pottinger, Public relations
Author byline Author byline
Yes Yes
Has hero Has hero
Yes No
Hero Alignment Hero Alignment
full full
Hero Image URL Hero Image URL
None None
Featured Image URL Featured Image URL
  https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/11/VI8gkhagXVQdxmcVz3aiS7AAioBtESwq.jpg
Sources Sources

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