The PR industry is on an ethics drive. Ethics is a cornerstone of good PR practice. As practitioners we have a governance role to play in helping our clients to make sound decisions. Jason MacKenzie’s manifesto for his CIPR Presidency campaign focuses on professionalism, with ethics being fundamental in achieving this.
As the Volkswagen story rumbles on, it raises plenty of ethical questions. At what stage was it suggested it would be acceptable to fit cars with devices to falsify emissions tests, and was this not challenged? Was there a conversation where Volkswagen discussed whether this was the right thing to do, and the implications? A PR professional’s alarm bells would certainly have been ringing.
When we become CIPR members, practitioners sign up to the Royal Charter. When we have the opportunity to do so, we have a responsibility to question and to ensure our role is not compromised. We debated this topic at the Channel Islands CIPR group's Future Reputations event in Guernsey. The consensus was that PR can, and should, make a contribution to the quality of decision-making in an organisation. We have a duty to present the truth and make a stand against misrepresentation.