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 PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.