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Public Relations industry highlights the legal pitfalls of social media

As social media continues to develop as a key communication tool for businesses, the importance of understanding the legal pitfalls of this medium is becoming increasingly important and is why the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) will be discussing these issues at a ‘must attend’ seminar at Bond University next week.

Entitled ‘Social Media and the Legal Pitfalls for PR and Communications Today’, the event will focus on the key legalities to watch out for and how to avoid getting sued and is expected to attract the attention of PR and marketing practitioners and business leaders from both the Gold Coast, Brisbane and beyond.

Keynote speakers at the event will be Professor Mark Pearson, Professor of Journalism at Bond University and author of the highly acclaimed book ‘Blogging and Tweeting Without Getting Sued’ and Associate Professor of Public Relations, Dr Jane Johnston, who believes it is “crucial” that PR practitioners understand the legal pitfalls surrounding this ever growing medium.

“These days hashtags can easily become ‘bashtags’ and Twitter followers can become stalkers,” said Dr Johnston. 

“Never has it been more important for those working in the field of public relations and communications to understand the legal pitfalls that may be faced through the use of the medium.

“In this digital age of immediate publication the modern PR practitioner needs to know when the legal alarm bells are ringing, how to brief lawyers when the need arises and have a solid working knowledge of the appropriate legal systems, policies and processes,” she said.

Providing practical tools for the corporate communications workplace the seminar will cover practical advice on trade practices, identifying potential legal hazards, defamation, contract law, intellectual property and more, all of which President of the PRIA Queensland and Director of leading Brisbane PR and marketing firm Gray Media Services, Yasmine Gray says are essential skills for anyone in the communications industry today.

“Our job is to provide expert public relations and communications advice and in this day and age when legal proceedings can begin at the drop of a hat it is imperative for anyone in our industry to have a working legal knowledge of the pitfalls surrounding social media.”

“Social media is only going to increasingly become a key communication tool in our industry so for anyone working in our field to not have the required knowledge is nothing short of professional suicide,” she said.

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