Bell Pottinger reflections & landmark global survey to headline PRCA Ethics Month

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Is Ethics a Choice?

The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) Global Ethics Council will mark this September’s Ethics Month with a series of reflections from industry leaders on Bell Pottinger’s expulsion from the Association five years ago.

Bell Pottinger’s expulsion and eventual collapse was a critical moment for the global industry and unquestionably the PRCA’s most high-profile disciplinary decision in its history. The Bell Pottinger: Five Years’ On videos will reflect on what the disciplinary action meant for the global PR industry and the lessons learnt.

Ethics Month also marks the launch of a first-of-its-kind global research project, in partnership with Washington D.C.-based Ethics & Compliance Initiative, to examine the state of ethics and compliance in PR and communications across the world. The survey will go live on 1st September and is available to all practitioners across the world.

Throughout the month – under the thematic banner of “Is Ethics a Choice?” – the PRCA will publish a freely available leaders’ panel event on 5th September exploring regional perspectives on ethical dilemmas faced by practitioners, thought leadership blogs and videos from international practitioners, and post weekly provocative Twitter and LinkedIn polls to challenge practitioners on pressing ethical issues.

PRCA members and non-members can now watch a PRCA NextGen event – Cut the BS – Does NextGen care if PR is ethical? – featuring PRCA International University Advisory Group Vice-Chair Ana Adi (host), Vero Senior PR Planning Strategist Natasha Sachatheva, Eclipse Communication Intern Goitseone Mafura, PRCA Communications Manager Gabriela Weiss, and Middlesex University Dubai graduate Manahil Azeem.

Watch here.

PRCA members and other public relations practitioners worldwide can follow the ethics conversation and tap into free resources and events, using the #PRethics and #PRCA hashtags across social media.

PRCA Director General Francis Ingham MPRCA commenting on the fifth anniversary of Bell Pottinger’s expulsion:

“Five years ago, the PRCA expelled Bell Pottinger for stirring racial hatred in South Africa. It was a defining moment for us. It proved that our code has teeth, that it is enforced and that it does have serious consequences if you breach it. More importantly, it was a defining moment for the PR industry. It began a conversation about ethics and an acknowledgement that ethical standards need to rise year on year all around the world. Now a lot has happened in past five years. A lot of good has happened. I believe the industry is overwhelmingly ethical and real progress has been made over these five years.”

Kiri Sinclair, Founder & CEO, Sinclair & Chair of PRCA Ethics Month 2022:

“This year we ask, is ethics a choice? Time and again we see organisations that prioritise ethics with honesty, authenticity and integrity are the ones that succeed. As organisations and their executives are increasingly held accountable for their actions and impact on a wide range of environmental and social issues, the role of PR professionals in protecting and enhancing reputation is paramount.

“We are often looked to as the voice of conscience within an organisation, and PR practitioners are responsible for building trust with multiple stakeholders. It is my opinion that ethics is no longer a choice but a necessity, with our industry codes of conduct a vital foundation for building a stronger ethical framework.”

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