This is number 4 of a series of observations following a study of ethical, moral and codified guidance provided by a variety of respected Public Relations Associations from the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
It might further be observed that various associations efforts at creating new standards for areas such as investor relations or healthcare, is as a result of public interest or as a reaction to legislators rather than the industry proactively committing resources. This is clearly the case with regards public affairs which is now under close regulatory scrutiny in the United Kingdom (Public Administration Select Committee, 2009).
Development of specialized codes of conduct and revisions of the same require significant efforts and investment both in time and legal expenses. When such an initiative is successfully undertaken and acquires significant international support such as IPRA’s Code of Athens, the requirement for consensus and legal review might be seen to water down the actual result (Code of Athens, 2009).
Given that most Associations rely upon limited sources of funding and have many obligations to ensure positive benefits to its Membership, investment in codes may have been relegated to a lower priority.
It may further be observed that it would be efficient for all Associations to combine their resources to research and develop a consistent global code rather than independently sewing together a ‘ragged’ cloth of ideals and aspirations. This is especially as once complete, these codes are freely available on the Internet in any case, and each Association explicitly encourages their wider circulation.
This might already be happening at some level, as can be seen from the Barcelona Declaration of 2010 (Institute for Public Relations, Global Alliance, ICCO, PRSA, AMEC U.S. & Agency Leaders Chapter, 2010) and the Media Spamming Charter (Public Relations Consultants Association – PRCA, CIPR, IRS & NUJ) and this is the trend that I expect will continue.