If there’s ever a word to kill a conversation, it’s ethics. Despite our job being all about reputations, we’ve not given ethics the importance and time that it deserves. This is changing, thanks in part to the efforts of a number of associations, including the Global Alliance, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ), the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO), and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), there’s a renewed focus on putting ethics at the heart of what we do and why we do it.
Corporate Communications and public relations have a new major challenge.And this challenge has a precise date: 25 May, 2018, the day when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force.The regulation focuses on the clear and unequivocal protection of people and the dispersion and use of their personal data.
Recently I read with great interest a business journal article about the importance of core focus in organizations. It mentioned the airline industry and in particular, discount airlines, which have been around longer than we might think. In the United States, an organization called People’s Express was among the first of its kind to offer “no frills” air travel. More recently, regional carriers like Southwest and JetBlue have taken this idea to new levels of success. However, with all of their success, others have tried this approach unsuccessfully.
When I was a child, I dreamed of travelling all over the world. After reading a book called, "The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World", my imagination soared. At the time, the world comprised 130 countries, some grouped together around the idea of Europe, one that was extremely attractive to a Spaniard. A few decades later, the world is divided into more than 200 territories that have attained the category of states (193 are members of the United Nations) and another 60 are pursuing independence with the goal of achieving statehood.
August 22 2018. For the past six months, following a meeting in Madrid, a task force of leading public relations and communication management organizations has been exploring a new set of principles in ethical practice and exploring ways to promote ethical conduct.
“Today, we are happy to announce that the members of the Global Alliance and IABC have agreed on sixteen principles that should be covered in every code of ethics for our profession. We are also happy to announce that these principles have the support of ICCO, the PRCA UK and PRCA MENA,” said Jose Manuel Velasco, chair of the Global Alliance representing more than sixty organizations. “Our combined efforts will help elevate the profession and promote ethics from a position of strength,” Velasco added.
"The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
This oft-cited quote conveys the fundamental importance of today’s free press despite its articulation before electronic, digital and social media were invented. The dramatic expression by a founding father who was brutally criticized by the media of his time underscores that the standing of a free press transcends politics, geographies or other affiliations.