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Public Relations and Ethics

Public Relations and Ethics

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Public Relations and Ethics

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  1. Public Relations and Ethics A match made in Heaven. . . Or Hell?

  2. Public Relations and Ethics Ethics and the law are attempts to restrict behavior and practices in an effort to protect the public welfare. Ethics are enforced by personal judgment or a professional code of conduct. The law is enforced by the government.

  3. Public Relations and Ethics The law is often interpreted in black and white. Ethics fall into a gray area because we have different standards, perceptions, values.

  4. Public Relations and Ethics Public relations professionals make ethical decisions that must satisfy: • Their employer • The public interest • Their professional organization • Their personal values

  5. Public Relations and Ethics PR professionals are often called: • Spin doctors • Flaks What they do is often referred to as a: • Ploy • Maneuver

  6. Public Relations and Ethics A PR professional’s job is to: • Advocate • Influence • Communicate • Promote • Move others to action

  7. Public Relations and Ethics Ethics experts agree that there are three systems of ethics: Deontology or Absolutist: every decision is right or wrong -- black or white. Consequences don’t matter. This system depends on the inner-based, self discipline of each individual.

  8. Public Relations and Ethics Teleology or Existentialist: the ends justify the means. Golden Mean or Utilitarian: each situation is judged on what would cause the most good and the least harm -- what’s best for the majority, the greatest good or the greatest number.

  9. Public Relations and Ethics A public relation practitioner serves five masters: • The client • The employer • Your colleagues • Yourself • Society

  10. Public Relations and Ethics Are public relations professionals philosophers or craftsmen?

  11. Public Relations and Ethics The most common dilemmas faced by PR professionals are: • Gifts • Misleading Information • Promotion of Inferior products • Gain at the expense of others • Political Action Committees • Promotion of illegal products abroad

  12. Public Relations and Ethics In 1992, at the age of 100, Edward Bernays tried to have the vocation of public relations licensed.

  13. Public Relations Assignment You work for a public relations firm that has just accepted a pharmaceutical firm that manufacturers, RU-486, the “morning-after pill.” You have been assigned the task for developing a campaign to promote the product to doctors and healthcare workers. Please write a 1-2 page paper explaining how you handle the situation, citing the specific ethical guidelines/philosophy that you would follow and why.