Ethics – the Cornerstone of Public Relations
Updated: Oct 19
Article by Jacqueline Arnold @ TwentyTwo13 (1 May 2023)
Do you get upset when someone claiming to be in the same profession as you does something underhanded, or unethical, or criminal?
I can tell you that it really irks me when doubt and suspicion is cast on my profession. I take it as a personal insult.
I’m of course referring to the recent reports that a businessman, believed to be doing ‘public relations’ (PR) for a politician, requested money from individuals running government projects to guarantee that their current services were retained, with promises of being awarded more projects in the future.
For those of us in PR, this is truly an affront to our profession, commitment to our craft, and life’s work.
What’s even more shocking is that there are people who believe that a PR professional would solicit an inducement or bribe.
Bribery and corruption go against the very core of what PR stands for.
In Malaysia, the Public Relations and Communications Association of Malaysia serves as a point of reference for industry standards and to clear any doubt about professional standards.
The association website, www.prcamalaysia.org, clearly outlines professional standards and members’ code of conduct.
“Under no circumstances are members to involve themselves knowingly with companies that are considered to be involved in businesses that are unethical in nature,” the association further explains.
In addition, PR firms are increasingly required by clients, particularly multinational corporations and public-listed entities, to sign the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Declaration, and agree to report any breaches.
This is, of course, the private sector. I do wonder about the standard operating procedure for the public sector and civil service.