PR Ethics

All the information below comes from the Public Relations Society of America website.


For those who don’t know, PRSA is a nonprofit organization for public relations professionals. Founded in 1947, its main purpose has been to establish a set a standard of excellence and maintain a system of ethics in the public relations profession.

The PRSA Member Code of Ethics is like, the Holy Bible of public relations. According to the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards, the Code has three main obligations:

  1. “The Code sets forth the principles and standards that guide our decisions and actions.”
  2. “The Code solidly connects our values and our ideals to the work each of us does every day.”
  3. “The Code is about what we should do, and why we should do it.”

Basically, the Code is a way for public relations professionals to daily reaffirm ethical practices.

So what all does this Code say?

Professional Values

According to PRSA, these core values set the industry standard for public relations professionals. The values are:

  • Advocacy
    • Acting as responsible advocates for those we represent
  • Honesty
    • Adhering to accuracy and truth
  • Expertise
    • Acquiring and developing specialized knowledge
  • Independence
    • Taking responsibility for our actions
  • Loyalty
    • Honoring our obligations to the public and those we represent
  • Fairness
    • Respecting all opinions and freedom of expression

Code Revisions

  • Free flow of information
    • Free flow of truthful information
    • Serving the public interest with informed decision making
  • Competition
    • Promoting healthy and fair competition among professionals
    • Endorsing a respectful and ethical climate
  • Disclosure of information
    • Fostering open communication with the public
    • Revealing all information needed for responsible decision making
  • Safeguarding confidences
    • Appropriately protecting confidential information for your clients
    • Respecting privacy rights for clients, organizations and individuals
  • Conflicts of interest
    • Avoiding situations that put personal or professional interests against society’s interests
    • Earning respect with clients and employers
  • Enhancing the profession
    • Working constantly to strengthen the public’s trust
    • Building credibility and improving practices

What I like the most is that each revision comes with a set of examples that displays improper conduct. What better way to learn than to actually read about real-world problems.

This was simply an overview. You can get a much better idea from Learn what’s wrong. Learn what’s right. Comment below if you would like to share any ethical dilemmas you overcame in the past.

Thanks for reading!

Posted by

Hello! My name is Tammie and formally, I’m a graduate from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, a minor in Spanish and a certificate in technical writing. Informally, I’m an energetic 29-year-old who enjoys to write, give professional advice and explore my creative side.

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