We have all told a lie.
“No, I didn’t eat the last cookie, I only had one!”
“Yes I’m fine, I’m just tired.”
“Seriously I didn’t do it!”
We all can admit it and that’s okay. Little white lies have always been a part of our lives but as future public relations practitioners, we have to stray away from the bad habit.
Public relations and ethics go hand-in-hand. PR ethics are the “standards of conduct that indicate how one should behave based on moral duties and virtues.” In other words, PR practitioners should behave ethically or “correctly” toward the public/clients. Most importantly, and included in the ethics of PR, is to NEVER lie. Lying can badly bruise the company with which you are involved in and forever scar your reputation.
“So how do we know if we are being ethical or not?”
Great question! Fortunately for PR professionals, there are a list of “rules,” so to speak, that can be followed. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) created a list of codes, called the PRSA Code of Ethics, in which “members pledge to core values, principles and practice guidelines that define their professionalism and advance their success.” However you don’t have to be a member to follow the codes. The document includes five core ethical values that must followed in order to be ethical, according to their standards. These are advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty, and fairness. These codes are the core of how to behave ethically. There are others that could be included and that is your personal choice to make.
Ethics of the world are always changing but we can be certain that our stand on lying will never change. We all hate being lied to, it even may break someone’s heart. Lying in PR will break bonds, relationships, and maybe even some hearts in the business world. It is important to remember the five values and cherish them, for they are the key to being successful in public relations.