Ethics is defined as a set of moral principles, in distinguishing right from wrong and determining the nature of what should be valued. In the public relations discipline, ethics includes values such as honesty, openness, loyalty, fair-mindedness, respect, integrity and forthright communication.
Whether working with traditional or digital media, a proper code of ethics must be followed. Not only are there legal requirements to meet, but there are also ethical guidelines that need to be met in order to keep a customer’s trust!
The state of ethics in the practice of public relations depends on the practitioners’ adherence to a proper code. When practitioners follow the Code of Ethics established by the Public Relations Society of America, they add to the integrity of the field and set the industry standard for professional practice.
The following are some of the fundamental beliefs that guide practitioners’ ethical conduct, professional behavior and their decision-making process:
Provisions of Conduct
Free Flow of Information: In the age of fake news, protecting and advancing accurate and truthful information is more important than ever. It is essential to serving in the interests of the public. In PR, this practice maintains the integrity of relationships with media, officials and the public.
Disclosure of Information: Building trust in relationships requires the protection of confidential or insider information, whether it’s from a client or employee. This principle also applies to the transparency of brand sponsorships, as the rules of engagement for influencer marketing are strict.
Conflicts of Interest: Avoiding real, potential or perceived conflicts of interest builds the trust of clients, employers, and the public. Put an end to situations that put personal or professional interests in conflict or derives a personal benefit. For example, Ivanka Trump had to shed potential conflicting interests when she began serving in her father’s presidential administration.
When it comes to ethics, these core values show the true measure of a great public relations practitioner. Always remember your ethics, as it is a crucial part of public relations and can advance your career as a PR practitioner!