It is observed that there are four key themes that are consistent across all the Codes studied.
These are Confidentiality; Integrity; Competence and Transparency and are most explicitly stated in five of the international associations reviewed (Chartered Insititute of PR – CIPR) (Global Alliance) (PR Society of America) (International Communications Consultancy Organisation, 2003) (Middle East PR Association – MEPRA). (See Table 2 – Common Themes Expressed in Codes of Ethics)
The Codes of 8 associations each have the same base ingredients, but slightly different articles sprinkled for effect
(i) Table 2 – Common Themes Expressed in Codes of Ethics
|Transparency & avoiding conflicts of interest||Conflicts of interest&
|Conflicts of interest||Loyalty||Objective counsel and advocacy|
|Openness and Privacy||Confidentiality|
Free flow of information
Disclosure of information
|Advocacy & Honesty||Advocacy & HonestyIntegrity||Integrity of information|
|Competence||Enhancing the profession&
|Professionalism||Expertise||Governance and Business Practices|
They form the base ingredients on top of which the different Associations have attempted to add colour and flavor in the form of specific articles. This gives the appearance that they are differences in the quality or standards each organization demands from its members, however, once one cuts through the butter cream icing – they all effectively have the same cake base.
In the codes studied Confidentiality relates to handling of sensitive information; and Integrity the accuracy of facts and also not undertaking activities that might be conceived as bribery or breaking the law.
Competence is in the pursuing of knowledge, and also setting correct expectations on what can be achieved through a PR campaign. And Transparency, not having any hidden agenda, conflict of interest and making full and appropriate disclosures about your identity and clients.
The benefit of this observation is that the industry is for perhaps the first time at a stage where it can set common guidelines which are acceptable to the sector as a whole.
 (Chartered Insititute of PR – CIPR, pp. 3-4)
 (PR Society of America, p. 1)
 (Middle East PR Association – MEPRA)
 (Global Alliance, p. 4)
 (Stockholm Charter, 2003)
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