The public relations industry can present a variety of challenges and dilemmas, especially when it comes to ethical issues. The Public Relations Society of America has declared that September is Ethics Awareness Month. The organization is spending the month to bring light to the importance of practicing ethical behavior in this profession.
PRSA has a Member Code of Ethics in place designed to anticipate ethical challenges that come up on a regular basis. The PRSA Member Statement of Professional Values – including Advocacy, Honesty, Expertise, Independence, Loyalty and Fairness – are the foundations that are meant to guide a PR professional’s behavior.
As PR professionals, we are hired to act as advocates for our companies and clients by providing credible and honest information to the public. Ethical practices really are at the forefront of every decision made – whether it’s the research and planning of strategic campaigns in an effort to avoid costly mistakes, developing relationships with the media, or determining solutions in the midst of a crisis. One of the biggest challenges faced is technology, as news travels faster than ever through websites and social media networks.
We realize that the public can perceive PR professionals as unethical at times, so we urge our colleagues to visit the PRSA code as a reminder of how to apply those particular values to daily communications strategies.
To read more on the ethics focus throughout the month, follow the Twitter hashtag #PRethics or check out the list of activities provided by PRSA. Participate in these conversations and help to raise the bar of ethics in public relations!