Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ethical PR Practice

National Seminar on Public Relations Ethics and New Media

Editor, Public Relations Vocie.

A one-day National Seminar on ‘Public Relations Ethics’ held at Brahmakumaris Shantivan, Mount Abu, Rajasthan resolved to develop a code of professional ethics for public relations with moral and spiritual values as to promote better relations between the corporate world and their stakeholders.

The Global Forum for Public Relations an outfit of Prjapita Brahmakumaris Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya organized this seminar for the first time as part of Media Conference 2011 on September 17, with twin objectives: Developing Public Relations Ethics and the Role of New Media in Public Relations.

In his introductory remarks Dr.C.V.Narasimha Reddi, Editor, Public Relations Voice who chaired the session referred to the need for public relations ethics and said that public relations manager is both an ‘advocate’ and an ‘ethics counselor’ to advise the management about incorporating ethics and core values in tune with the corporate mission. And that in order to discharge one’s functions, the PR Manager must learn about ethics, spot ethical issues and shape the organization’s corporate ethics and values.

Dr.Reddi quoted Indian born industrialist Lord Paul of U K who said ‘ we have made a lot of progress economically in India, but there is a shadow over our progress and that is Corruption. Unfortunately, with the economic growth of India, corruption has grown faster’.

The Satyam Computers Rs.14,000 crore scam, 2G Specturm Rs.1.7 lakh crore scam, Commonwealth Games Corruption, Obulapuram Mining Corporation’s illegal mining scam, Nira Radia Tapes episode not only defamed India in the world market but also generated a significant decline in peoples trust both in government and business. In fact, trust of stakeholders in these companies is almost dead. It is for public relations to work in the direction of ‘Long Live Trust’. Against this backdrop, Dr.C.V.Narasimha Reddi observed that there arose the need for both corporate ethics and public relations ethics. If corporate ethics deals with good and ethical business, public relations ethics focuses on ethical and moral values in disseminating public information.

Earlier, Rajayogi B K Karuna in his welcome address observed that the value based media and public communication system would not only contribute to the socio-economic development of the country but also establish peace and harmony in the nation.

Prof. Ujjwal K Chowdary, Dean Whistling Woods School Communication, Mumbai who delivered keynote address said personal ethics of a public relations practitioner was a pre-requisite and a golden rule towards successful public relations practice. While dealing with historical perspective of public relations code of ethics, Prof. Chowdary urged that Global Forum for Public Relations should evolve a Model Code of Professional standards and ethics for public relations practice by 2012.

Later a session devoted to ‘ New Media for Public Relations’ held under the Presidentship of B K Sarala Anand, President, Global Forum for Public Relations, resolved that new media such as e-mail, blogs, twitter, face-book etc. not only educate the stakeholders but also can redress the customer grievances on line. Chairman, Prime Point Foundation K Srinivasan,said instant messages were possible through internet which had both advantages and disadvantages. However, he exhorted that PR professionals should make use of social media for interactive communication to promote organizational image.

Among those who spoke in the national seminar include: Irfan Khan, former Director, Corporate Communications, Hindustan Lever, Y Bhaskar Rao, Abishek Kumar Singh, Prof. K C Mouli, Makhanlal Chaturvedi University, Arun Arora, Senior Vice President,(CC) Jindal Steel, Ms.Nazi, Farin Emani(Iran), Madhavan Varadarajan, Arpita Prashant, (Chennia), Reema Sarin, Consultant, Delhi, G,Anija, Federic Michael, Hyderabad. B K Anitha and B K Heena conducted the sessions.

The seminar in conclusion recommended that the public relations code of ethics should contain three main elements:
1. Professional values – (truth telling professional competence);
2. Principles of conduct – free flow of two-way information, fair, advancement of profession;
3. Members Pledge for code of ethics.

In another resolution, it has been decided that in the context of India, the media strategy should contain a combination of four media namely –
1.Interpersonal media – meeting;
2.Folk art media – puppets, tamasha;
3.Mass media – press, radio, TV, Film and
4. New media – internet, e-mail, blogs, website.

Such a combination of media the Public Relations conclave felt could reach about 70 crore people both in urban and rural India,.

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