Public Relations must be honest and open

Yet more controversy about the practice of PR with the Guardian’s exposure that a new pan-European campaign group Cancer United  is solely funded by drug giant, Roche with its PR firm Weber Shandwick acting as the group’s secretariat.  This “support” is mentioned on the campaign site, but it smacks of Bernay’s Impropaganda rather than open and transparent campaigning.

In contrast, the fight to save Britain’s post offices by the National Federation of SubPostmasters is quite open about its purpose and has built a coalition of support from others who share this aim – from Citizens Advice and Help the Aged to 400 members of parliament.

Despite supporting the WOMMA code of ethics PR firm Edelman forgot the rule of openness in designing a pan-US tour for Working Families for Wal-Mart. The apology of Richard Edelman says it all: trust is not negotiable.

Maybe it is the presence of external PR consultancies that raises cynicism about the motives of organisations, but if PR is to be trusted, by organisations, the media and wider society, it has to ensure the mantra of honest and open communications is not only said, but practised.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.