Periodically over the next few weeks, I intend to post a number of polished literary gems on the subject of ethics in public relations. These gems will not be mine. They will emanate from some of the finest PR minds on the planet. The leaders, chairmen and CEOs of the world's top ten public relations entities.
The reason I do this is to elicit a response - a commitment to act - against the distinctly unethical practice of astroturfing. To elicit a commitment from the globe’s leading PRs. (I will not define astroturfing in this space because you can find out all about it here.)
In introducing this series of inspirational talk, I’m looking forward to encouraging some inspiring walk. Let’s see how we go. First, and to kick off, a primer from the Code of Ethics of the Public Relations Society of America.
Disclosure of Information
Core Principle: Open communication fosters informed decision making in a democratic society.
Intent: To build trust with the public by revealing all information needed for responsible decision making.
Guidelines: A member shall:
Be honest and accurate in all communications.
Act promptly to correct erroneous communications for which the member is responsible.
Investigate the truthfulness and accuracy of information released on behalf of those represented.
Reveal the sponsors for causes and interests represented.
Disclose financial interest (such as stock ownership) in a client's organization.
Avoid deceptive practices.
Examples of improper conduct under this provision:
Front groups: A member implements "grass roots" campaigns or letter-writing campaigns to legislators on behalf of undisclosed interest groups.
A member deceives the public by employing people to pose as volunteers to speak at public hearings and participate in "grass roots" campaigns.
NEXT: Weber Shandwick Worldwide