For over 100 years, global advertising firm McCann Worldgroup has stuck to the motto "Truth well told".
In the growing marketing challenges of sustainability and credibility, the philosophy has remained relevant as it was when the company was founded in 1902.
"To tell the truth is very easy, everyone can do it. Truth well told is a challenge, it requires a deeper understanding of the products, it requires passion and a lot more," McCann Malaysia CEO Tony Savarimuthu said in an interview with the New Straits Times.
"Consumers can’t be fooled with frivolous claims. Our primary job is to advocate the integrity of truth in communications," he said.
Talk about credibility and integrity, the latest posting on Information Minister Shabery Cheek’s website today – notashabery.com deserves a pat on the back.
"Instead of being antagonistic towards bloggers the Government should be a part of blogosphere," it says.
The issue at hand was the recent decision by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to block access to a controversial website known to be critical of the government.
Disagreeing with the move, it says blocking a website violates the Multimedia Super Corridor’s bill of guarantees that there will be no censorship of the Internet.
"There are plenty of existing laws – those dealing with defamation and sedition, the Official Secrets Act and so on – to deal with bloggers and website owners who publish “undesirable” content," it added.
Stating that there were plenty of reasons that it was not only a bad move but a futile one, the article says it further alienates youths – the cyber-generation – who turn to the Internet for news and information.
So, what can the Government do?
"Firstly, it can stick by its original commitment to keep the Internet free from censorship. Backtracking from a mistake is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.
Secondly, instead of adopting an antagonistic attitude towards bloggers – which it can’t control – it should try to engage bloggers and be a part of blogosphere. It would not hurt at all for the Government to have, for example, an official blog.
But more than that, the Government could set up a cyber-diplomacy team to deal with bloggers and news sites in a friendly and non-confrontational kind of way.
Say, a blogger posts something critical of the Government, this team could send the blogger a message to present the Government’s point of view. If the blogger doesn’t want to publish it, the team could post the response in the “Comments” section.
What if the blogger removes such comments?
Such a recalcitrant blogger is not likely to be someone that’s well-followed, and is probably not influential anyway," said the post under the heading "Cyber-diplomacy is the answer".