A PR practitioner has many tools and channels to convey their messages to key stakeholders. But sometimes they forget about one important secret tool, and that is the truth. It is so easy to cover something wrong with beautiful words. This is not about the people who hired you it is all about you and your integrity.
As PR individuals, we need to set our values and principles. We should not tolerate lies just because we are pay to make someone look nice in front of the camera. Maybe a lot of PR practitioners ignore this, but we also play a role as an ethical counsellor. We have to take ethical and right decisions.
Public Relations is considered by many advocates as an important feature of a healthy democracy (Simmons & Walsh, 2010). Also, ethics are part of the company identity, reputation as well as a vital part of organisational culture (L’Etang, 2008). Moreover, PR practitioners play an essential role acting like counsellors of public moral argument aiding the organisation to have an ethical context for their actions (Kent, 2015).
But Public Relations has a negative connotation because the PR practitioners tend to listen to those who have more power rather than having a balanced interest between organisational interests and societal interests. Many people link PR with spin and deception. Even PR practitioners prefer not to use public relations within their job title (Simmons & Walsh, 2010). Usually, a PR practitioner will be recognised by terms like Account Executive, Public Affairs, Public Diplomacy, Corporate Communication rather than PR itself. Furthermore, students see PR mostly about lying and manipulation (Simmons & Walsh, 2010).
And this bad reputation occurred because many PR practitioners decided to tell lies, to spin and manipulate in order to reach their objectives. But how we can take ethical and righteous decisions and improve our own reputation, as PR practitioners? This subject will be covered in another article.
In the end, ask yourself what is more important to you: money or your integrity?