Certain rules, standards and ethics of behaviour are being performed and followed in every society. The majority of people both in their private or professional lives are expected to have certain codes of behaviour and act ethically. It is also expected that those with whom we have dealings to follow these codes and ethical behaviour too. In the UK every professional body and organisation retains certain ethical standards or codes of contact. These codes are expected to be followed by its members and abide those moral principals or set of moral values held by an individual or group. (Gruning, 1984). The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is no exception. The CIPR’s main responsibility is to establish, provide and certify the standards of Professional and ethical codes. (Henslowe. 2002). When a member joins the Chartered Institute of Public Relations agrees to: be honest and transparent with employers, employees, clients, fellow professionals and others and the public, must maintain standards of integrity, confidentiality and respect the customs. Furthermore, they have to work with the legal frameworks of the place that practices Public Relations. They have to respect and follow the rules that issued by the Institute of Public Relations and encourage others to follow them too. They also have to work on measurements to ensure employment best practice including avoiding unfair discrimination on any grounds. Finally, they have to deal with honesty and integrity in business with employers and be responsible regarding public interest.
All these ethical patterns and theories sound all nice and good. But what is happening when the practitioner puts in a position where follow these ethics is not an option?? I personally believe that the practitioner has to act very diplomatically by following companies’ regulations and policies but at the same time be ethical up to an extent that doesn’t alter the nature of the profession. We doing PR therefore we want to get the message across, it is very important to tell the truth as well as protect companies reputation. It is very vital not to forget what we doing? What is our role? Professional ethics are crucial in the public relations profession because those ethics are ensuring the right use of PR profession. There is two basic principles of ethics that Heath, (2001) proposed for PR practitioners to have. Firstly, they have the will to be ethical, honest and trustworthy and do not willingly injure others. Secondly, their actions should always avoid adverse consequences upon others. Public Relations practitioners have the obligation to make the organisation aware of those consequences in order to avoid injury of others. I totally agree with that, I wouldn’t like seeing myself as a future practitioner to come a point where I would have to cross the line. But on the other hand am thinking, what if this is for the greater good for the company?
After all the company will sign my paycheck at the end of the month…
CIPR – Code of Conduct:
Ethics Minute – A general Ethics video…
*The fundamental rule in ethics is simple: Do the right thing.
Henslowe, P. (2002). Public Relations. London: Kogan Page Limited.
Gruning, E, J,. (1984). Managing Public Relations. 1. ed. Florida: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College
Heath, L, R,. (2001). Handbook of Public Relations. 1. ed. London: Sage Publications.