Ricardo Durand of GlobalCom PR Network’s partner agency EDC in Portugal provided the current comment for PR Report magazine. The article was published in the recent issue of the magazine in German (see image) but as Ricardo provided his comment in English we are able to share the original version with you.
Portugal is in the middle of a political crisis. The measures to enforce the economic situation were refused in the parliament a couple of weeks ago and the prime minister, José Sócrates resigned. Cavaco Silva, Portugal’s president, accepted the decision of Sócrates and new elections are scheduled for June 5th.
The reference newspapers and a TV network that had issues with the prime-minister in the past (the editor-in-chief was forced to leave the network due to some news concerning a supposed case of corruption involving Sócrates) were eager to see him out of São Bento (the official residence of the prime-minister). Social contestation was beginning to grow and a large manifestation took place in Lisbon two weeks before the resignation of Sócrates.
People had enough of the economic measures taken by PS. And so had the media.
Key columnists of several newspapers made huge critics to the actions of the Government led by José Sócrates and his ministers. It was impossible for the PR offices of the Government to sustain and control the negative news about the Government decisions.
Facebook took central stage in the contestation to Sócrates behaviour in the last months. A group was created – Geração à Rasca (Generation in Danger) – majorly composed by people with 20-35 years olds, that were not satisfied with their working conditions. This Facebook group made an extraordinary effort, which led to the presence of two hundred thousand people in the Lisbon (the capital) streets. In other Portugal cities public demonstration took place with only one thing in mind: change of leadership was mandatory in Portugal.
This is a very good case of the power that social media has nowadays to effect real life changes. It can mobilize people like no other. In modern society revolutions are cooked in the social networks and served in the streets. The PR agencies or the state press offices have o bear in mind that this reality is irreversible. So, more than ever, they have to monitor what is going on on-line to forecast what is going to happen soon. Know that Portugal prepares to choose another prime-minister, we should learn from this lesson of strength that the social media and networks taught our leaders.
Ricardo Durand – Account Manager at EDC, partner of GlobalCom PR Network
GlobalCom is an award-winning worldwide alliance of Public Relations specialists and agencies that offers international PR services to organisations looking to launch their products and services simultaneously in multiple countries.