Responding to reports by Open Democracy that the Evening Standard has offered “money-can’t-buy” coverage and content as part of a commercial deal, Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said:
“The lines are being blurred but the ethical approach is still clear: we must never allow commercial relationships to distort and disrupt the free flow and independence of journalism.
“An autonomous newsroom – free from commercial influence and centred on editorial integrity – is vital to public faith in journalism and communications. If readers are unable to distinguish between news and paid-for content, their trust will be diminished, and this will undermine both earnt and paid media to the detriment of PR and communications.
“The PRCA Professional Charter and Codes of Conduct are clear: we must, first and foremost, conduct our professional activities with proper regard to the public interest, and nothing less than labelling paid-for content will do. We welcome the denial issued by ESI Media.”