Ethics in public relations

According to the definition, ethics is a set of moral norms recognised at a certain time by some social collective as a reference point for the evaluation and regulation of behaviour in order to integrate the group around certain values[1]. A code of ethical conduct is a set of principles and rules that we should follow because of our profession. What principles should we therefore follow?

In Poland, two institutions have developed a Code of Ethical Public Relations Activities, these are: The Association of Public Relations Companies and the Polish Public Relations Association. The basis for the creation of the Code of Ethical Public Relations Activities is the ICCO Stockholm Charter. It is a declaration of the International Association of Communication Consultants, in which we can read: "Public relations firms are professional agencies that provide consultancy services, helping clients to influence the opinions, attitudes and behaviour of their addressees. This influence entails accepting responsibility for the actions we take towards our clients, our employees, our profession and society as a whole".

According to the ZFPR Code of Good Principles and the PSPR Code of Ethics :

  • The public should be informed fairly, honestly and comprehensively.
  • The public must not be deliberately misled.
  • The concealment of relevant information affecting national security is prohibited.
  • It is reprehensible to accept any payment from an editor for a published text.
  • Clients should be informed promptly of any undertakings that are being made that could be contrary to their interests.
  • Public relations agencies are obliged to behave ethically towards their competitors, any competitive data may only present publicly available information.


The principles indicated above are the most important rules that every PR practitioner should adhere to in order to be able to say that they are practising their profession with integrity and honesty.


Text author: Asia

Text sources: ICCO Stockholm Charter, ZFPR Code of Good Principles and PSPR Code of Ethics

[1] PWN Encyclopedia,;3898956.html