This post will be about my personal opinions on ethics in relation to both the individual PR practitioner and the organisations that they represent.
I believe that ethical standards are more relative than absolute, meaning that the standard of ethics that the practitioner should reach is dependant on their individual personal opinion- some practitioners may believe that ethics are more important than others. An example of this may be professionals such as journalists who compete to get the best story, irrelevant of personal boundaries or consequence. This issue is often relatable to PR practitioners, as negative portrayals of PR in the media often cause the wider public to believe that PR is simply a 'scandal' or 'spin', and they may not perceive PR practitioners as actual 'human beings'. In my opinion, corporations and practitioners have an extent of social responsibility; meaning that they should not work simply for profit and should abide by a set of legal, ethical and safety standards (although this is not always the case).
There is much discussion about providing PR practitioners with a license to work, meaning exams and checks should be made before they are allowed to operate. Although licensing PR practitioners may lead to gains in respect and credibility, it is not likely to ensure that a high standard of ethical behaviour is adhered to, but rather it will protect the wider public and clients from imposters and make Public Relations easier to define. Licensing PR practitioners in order to increase professionalism in the industry will not increase ethical standards, therefore although it may be a positive to respectability and credibility, in my opinion it is not essential. I believe that ethical guidelines and codes of conduct should be taught to each individual practitioner before they are able to work within the industry, and in order to be a credited practitioner and professional, random undercover audits should take place to check that these codes of conduct are being upheld.