Prof. Sonal Pandya Gujarat University

Cultural Aspects of Public Relations

Prof. Sonal Pandya

Gujarat University


Prof. Sonal Pandya  is Head of Department of Masters in Master Communication and Journalism and Masters in Development Communication at Gujarat University. She is also the Director of the Centre of Excellence for Communication in Social and Behavior and Social Change in partnership with UNICEF.

Dr Pandya had her earlier education at the rural higher education institution, Lok Bharti Sanosara, Bhavnagar-Gujarat, therefore value-based education and education for social change has been her strong forte.  She achieved her Ph.D in Mass Communication and Journalism from Gujarat University. She believes in institutional building and has great managerial skills and human values.

Dr Pandya has contributed to research work on Lok Sabha Election -2014 for the newspaper of DENMARK “Jyllands- Posten”. She has been an Advisory committee member for AIR and Doordarshan.
Member of Selection procedure Committee for UPSC, Gujarat Government and Member of Selection procedure Committee Kerala Public Service Commission ( KPSC) and Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC).

Press Release

Public Relations Society of India

Day 4 of PR – Mass Communication Orientation Programme for Students with Professor Sonal Pandya (Gujurat University, Ahemdabad)

New Delhi

4th October 2021

This is an academic initiative by the Public Relations Society of India so that the students learn from extraordinary speakers all over India.

Professor Sonal Pandya (Gujarat University, Ahemdabad) was the guest speaker for Day four of 15 Day PR – Mass Communication Orientation Programme for students on 4th October 2021. She delivered a lecture on the Cultural Aspects of Public Relations. Public Relations (PR) is basically taught to inculcate belief and trust among people. She talked about the increasing scope in PR. Furthermore, she shed a light on how almost everywhere PR is required – Service Sector, Politics, Personal PR. It is part and parcel of social, behavioral, and psychological change and culture.

She spoke about how PR helps to communicate the thoughts and strategies to the general public and further stated that how role and scope are changing in PR in the 21st Century – handling social media pages, and creating an image of celebrities, political leaders, educational institutions, hospitals, doctors, bureaucrats (IPS and IAS officers), and even religious institutions. This is basically done to show how competent one is. She further discussed how Indian Cinema censors scenes and gives out filtered content to its audience because of the social image, the interplay of casteism, and religious front in India. All of this is connected to the role of PR and Media.

The august speaker further discussed three major pillars of Culture and seven parameters of Culture and included various examples and explained each part thoroughly to the attendees. and concluded the session. The session was well appreciated by the audience.           

This is an initiative by The Public Relations Society of India of 15 Day PR – Mass Communication Orientation Pogramme, inaugurated by Shri Naresh Bansal – a member of Rajya Sabha, Mr. Phileppe Borremans – President of International Public Relations Association and organized by Dr. Ajit Pathak – National President of Public Relations Society of India and Mr. Y Babji – Secretary General of Public Relations Society of India.

Summary of the Presentation
By Mr. V.S.R. Naidu
Amaravathi Chapter

Prof Sonal Pandya ji while speaking abt “Cultural Aspects of PR” reiterated the need to create & sustain a good image on the cyber platforms. In view of the rapid change of role of PR, the scope of PR is increasing. Gone are the days where a manufacturer produces goods & sells them to the customers but what is equally important is the service sector, she said.
PR is multi-dimensional & various sectors are looking for better PR professionals.
Incase of Political PR, it’s needed to establish a balance between good governance & good services. Political PR is gaining momentum. As you convey a message, it’s necessary to convince the targeted groups. To be a political PRO, one has to be a good spokesperson well versed with good design for political advocacy. Of late many are into political PR, not just limited to Prashant Kishore, she said.
Everyone is into different sectors, disciplines say for ex, modeling, good pics are just not sufficient but need to communicate a better image of the person. It’s called Personal PR.
Journalists too are having their own Social platform. The same is the case with Celebrities.
PROs have to realise that they are the brand & image of a company. PR role is not just sufficient to issue a press release & damage control, also require multi-level talent.
Politicians for handling their FB, Twitter…educational institutions, Professors need to create as knowledgeable persons, doctors to establish their competency needs Personal PR. Even bureaucrats need to establish how unique they are & how people-friendly their services are…
Prof cited with examples how important the Religious PR is, their philosophy, religious leaders image as Baba Ramdev with his Yoga, Sadguru with his thousands of young followers.
Coming to Event Management, like Ratha yatra, they do look for people with professionalism.
PR plays a major role in respect of religious institutions and the scope of PR is increased.
Social sectors/organisations are also looking for good PR professionals as there is social accountability for the contributions/donations, whether they are properly used or not & for a good purpose.
To be a successful Social Marketing PR person, she emphasised the need to be familiar with the Culture & values of the Indian system, the demography profile of a community, cultural diversity….
Language is also imp as it differs from state to state & within a state too.
The same is the case with food habits also as it is diversified with place & area wise & can’t be generalised.
Clothing is different traditionally & during celebrations & festivals, she mentioned.
Referring to Social values, Culture & its values are also important to be familiar with for a good PR.

Thanks to Prof Sonal Pandya ji for her excellent & elaborate presentation touching upon cultural aspects, an important factor for a better society.
Prof is highly successful in making us realise that PR is very dynamic, multi-dimensional, multi-faceted & a challenging job for PROs & yes..she gave hopes to the budding PR practitioners & students that there is wide scope for their future.

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