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A brief history of Public Relations in the world

The first appearances of the term "public relations" appeared in the US Year Book of Railway Literature and in the first decade of the 20th century the first public relations office were established in the USA. In 1906, the first private sector firm was opened that provided its clients wit public relations services.  Ivyledbetter Lee, a Princeton University graduate and New York World journalist, is considered to be the founder of the first   public relations firm in NY. Lee is referred to as "the father of public relations” in America. He published the Declaration of Principles, stating “This is not a secret press bureau. All our work is done in the open. We aim to supply news. This is not an advertising agency. Our matter is accurate. Upon inquiry, full information will be given to any editor concerning subjects which it is of value and interest.

Following the establishment of Lee's firm and introducing public relations services, gradually other institutions started their own public relations offices which helped the development of public relations as a profession. The first public relations course was offered at the New York University in 1923, which was taught by Edward L.Bernays. Bernays remains the preeminent figure in the field of public relations for his tireless efforts – in articles, speeches, lectures and professional consulting, in addition to his books – to educate generations of practitioners and the institutions they serve in the value of public relations as a tool of management and human relations. He died in 1995.Base on a study, more than 100 thousands people were engaged in public relations practice in the USA in 1960, and in 1983 more than 15 thousands students were studying public relations in the US. In England public relations as it is known today first began in 1911. Pakistan Air Force set up its Public Relations Department in 1919,further, in the same year Ministry of Health appointed the first public relations officer in that country. The same officer started the first private public relations firm in England in 1924.Following these two countries, other industrial nations such as Germany, France, and Deutschland established public relations departments in their organizations and paved the way for the development of public relations profession.



An Overview of Public Relations in Iran

  The first public relations office in Iran was established   in Notional Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). Among organisations and institutions in Iran, public or private, it was NIOC which pioneered the opening of public relations office. The former “Iran and England Oil Company" had set up an "Information and Press" office, which was the bridge between the company and the press. After the nationalization of the Oil Industry an office was established in NIOC, under the same title, which later became the public relations.

The first public relations   seminar was held by NIOC in Abadan in 1964 followed by the second seminar in Kermanshah in 1965.Other large organisations followed the NIOC and established public relations offices. It was then that there was a need for training public relations experts. To this end, the former "Ministry of Information and Tourism" held short term training course. The employees in this Ministry attended the course to become familiar with basics and techniques of public relations. The public relations instructors and experts offered their courses based on the time available or the level of participants' education. Some other ministries such as Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered short term training courses for their staff. In 1965 the preliminary studies were carried out to establish a public relations college of higher education. A year later, "Press and Public Relations Higher Institute" was founded. The applicants holding a high school diploma in literature, mathematics, natural science, or journalism were admitted to the institute after passing an entrance examination. The program lasted 4 years, and students were required to pass 140 credits in order to be warded the Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations. The "Press and Public Relations Higher Institute" officially started its activity in 1967-1968 and continued until 1978, training some applicants every year.

Public relations offices in industrial countries stemmed from public sectors. In Iran, contrary to Western countries, there were not private firms that could sell their expert services to offices in public and private sectors. There were only some commercial advertising companies which offered their expert services to public and private sector entities. After the Revolution, due to some complications the managers and authorities, who took over the management of the organisations, paid little attention to public relations activities? At the time, the practices of entities such as Islamic Societies, Basij, and Islamic Communities leveled parallel to public relations offices. Public relations were overshadowed. However, gradually, as the order of the issues was restored in organisations and entities a lack of public relations was felt which made the people in charge take measures to revive the public relations activities. One of the first such steps was taken by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance which held a public relations seminar in 1984, inviting public relations offices in Tehran. In this there-day seminar the major challenges faced by public relations offices were discussed and by accepting the Islamic Culture Principle and adapting the objectives and missions of the public relations to the Islamic principles the foundation for the revival of   public relations was laid.