Ethics In Public Relations Essay

1167 words - 5 pages

Ethics in the field of Public Relations Public Relations (PR) is a growing field today. Many people view the profession as unethical, because its goal is to influence public opinion. Just a few unethical people can tarnish an image of a whole field. One of the first people to use PR techniques was P. T. Barnum. For example, he created a birth certificate for a woman who was claiming to have been George Washington's personal nurse. This would have made the woman over 160 years old. People like P.T. Barnum contribute to the general misperception of PR as an unethical profession. If there was a code of ethics back then it might of helped today's perception of the field of Public Relations.As the Public Relations field grows "the general public is on our case the news media is on our case even we are on our own case." (Mivamoto 1) The public as a whole is demanding higher ethical practices from business firms and organizations than it did in the past. Even college students are developing a negative disposition towards public relations because of the way textbooks present it. For example, the P.T. Barnum story creation above shows how far someone will go to bring in a crowd. Barnum lied to the public.A public relations practitioner holds huge responsibilities in promoting and defending his or her employers. Mivamoto lists a few responsibilities of public relations representatives in [his speech] "Public Relations Ethics 201: Challenges We Just Can't Ignore." Here are some of the challenges public relation professionals face: § Misleading Information: We're counted on and trusted to provide accurate information to our publics. It's so easy to send out-on purpose - incorrect information designed to lead them astray.§ Promotion of Inferior Products: How ethical is to promote products made by our company that we know are inferior - products that we know are unsafe, or of poor quality, or will be used illegally? § Political Influence: Does money still buy influence in politics? Should public relations professionals use Political Action Committees to gain influence with elected officials through economic support? It happens all the time. Is it ethical? Or is it just good business? § Promotion of US Products: In many foreign countries, American companies are promoting and selling products deemed unsuitable for use in the USA.The huge responsibilities and decisions come easier the longer one is in practice. Age and experience assist professionals in making ethical decisions. Moreover, studies show that female practitioners are significantly more ethical than men. Many practitioners have said that the reason why they are unethical is because of the competitive environment. According to the article by Pratt, "some practitioners blame the availability, or lack thereof, of good, effective role models, particularly among top business executives, for both practitioners and society in general." {The media is always spotlighting the bad PR...

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