Main Article Content
The study aims to investigate the public relations practices and challenges in West Wollega Zone Government Communication Affairs Office (WWZGCAO). To achieve this, case study design among qualitative research approach was employed as it suit well in adequately answering the research questions. Twelve participants were purposively selected from PR sector and media organizations based on their position, experience and expertise on media and PR practices. Data was gathered through interview, FGD and document analysis. Accordingly, Interview was conducted with a manager and the planning and coordinating expert from PR sector, and managers and reporters from media members of OBN West Wollega district and Fana FM Nekemte district. FGD was also conducted with PR practitioners based on their positions. Concerning document analysis, the working documents like 5-year, 2013 E.C annual strategic plan and 3rd quarter report, social media page, employee profile and organizational structure, available press releases, newsletters, and brochures were reviewed. The data generated was triangulated, translated and analyzed thematically to draw meanings. The finding of the study shows that PR sector of the zone performs two main activities. It lets the government know what the public’s feelings and attitudes through conducting situational analysis and public opinion survey. It also creates awareness for the public about the government’s plan, accomplishments and activity of the administration by using different media through media relation activities. In relation to PR strategy, the sector has a 5-year and 2013E.C strategic annual plan adopted from Oromia communication bureau based on the vision of the government in 3rd DTP 10-year plan that clearly states the vision, roles and activities in the document. However, they neglected research to clearly understand and incorporate the real situation of the zone for better accomplishment. Practice of PR sector was not in professional way because of lack of a professional practitioners, limited training and perception towards this sector from managers and reporters. Similarly, practitioners’ performance also determined by a security problem, infrastructure, logistics, public attitude, insufficient budget, limited materials for media activity, transportation problem, network disconnection, political pressure, and structure of the sector.