There have been some mad things done in the name of 'media relations' in the Middle East. Some might remember my chucklesome post about Nokia in Egypt, for instance.
But this one takes the biscuit.
A Maltese agency, according to Malta Today, has started to insist on a deposit being paid by media before it co-operates in answering requests. The deposit, equivalent to around €2,300 is refundable if the client likes what the journalist says.
The 'system' being put in place is that the journalist fronts up the deposit, gets the quotes he/she needs and then sends a copy of the story to the agency for approval. The deposit is refunded if the story that appears is the same as the approved version.
As Malta Today points out, "The idea of requesting a deposit simply for being quoted in the news has been met with incredulity among media workers."
Incredulity is an uncommonly kind reaction. This is muckle-headed incompetence of the highest water and should be punished by sacking the whole damn lot of them instantly. I do heartily commend taking a look at the story (linked above)!!!
The client in whose name this idiocy is taking place? Dubai's Tecom Investments Ltd, no less!