GA answers calls for a new global code of ethics

Since the demise of Bell Pottinger there have been more and more calls for ethical behaviour within the industry, with several organizations calling for a new global code of ethics. This was further enhanced when Richard Edelman called on associations to create a coalition to establish a PR Compact to address new demands on ethical standards for the PR industry.

In response to this, the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management have put out a statement, the statement is as follows:


“-As the only confederation that gathers the world’s major PR and communication management associations and institutions, representing 160,000 practitioners and academics around the world, we would like to offer our leadership to start a global conversation that will involve many voices, both academic and professionals from around the world.

-The Global Alliance is happy to announce that we are willing to convene an ethics summit as soon as possible. Invitations will be sent to a broad range of organisations, some of them are already GA members, to discuss how to build on the current global code of ethics, introduced by the GA in 2002.

-Since 2002, this Global Code of Ethics has been ratified by all our members, from New Zealand to Spain, from China to the UK, from the United States to Argentina, from Canada to Chile, from Sweden to South Africa, across all five continents. It is one of the building blocks we should consider. We need to take another look at this global code in light of recent developments. Recent suggestions by ICCO and Richard Edelman, as well as our own work on a Global Capabilities, need to be examined.

– The Global Alliance is ready to lead and be part of the conversation. It is our hope and wish that we can come together to update codes to a new global standard upheld by a broad coalition of public relations associations. The next World Public Relations Forum  in Oslo in April 2018 offers an ideal forum to launch a new global code of ethics. The WPRF will gather hundreds  public relations and communication professionals from around the world to examine major issues affecting the profession.

Ethics has become a key ‘top of mind’ issue. Let us work together.”

José Manuel Velasco, Chair of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management also stated in a post on the CIPR website: “The final decision on ethics belongs to the individual. However, this option is framed in the principles that ensure the balanced functioning of society, which in turn are nourished by deontological codes that regulate the various social functions.

It is part of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management mission to create and take care of that ethical framework, so that professionals and organizations of this industry can carry out their work with responsibility, honesty and solvency.

Recent events highlight the need to strengthen this ethical reference, in order to fight globally and locally the lies and manipulation that have flooded our professional landscape on the back of the post-truth. “


The statement has been welcomed by the President of UK’s professional body for PR, Jason MacKenzie. On a statement on their website he says: “With members on six continents, the Global Alliance is the embodiment of worldwide public relations. The CIPR is proud to support its efforts to raise professional standards. It is our profound hope that by working with our colleagues across the world, we can set a new – universally adopted – standard of ethical practice.”

His comments were echoed on the CIPR site by Professor Anne Gregory Hon FCIPR, Former Chair of the Global Alliance: “All professional associations and institutions who are members of the Global Alliance have had to sign up to the Global Code of Ethics which came into force 15 years ago. It is now time for another serious conversation about ethics which responds to the new context in which we operate. As a profession we owe it to ourselves to demonstrate to the world that we take this seriously and I’m delighted that as the second largest professional body in the world, the CIPR is backing the Global Alliance’s call.”

The Global Alliance’s World Public Relations Forum, which takes place in Oslo in April 2018, has been earmarked as a forum to launch a new global code of ethics.

Our Thoughts

It’s great to see ethics becoming centre stage within the Marketing and PR world and hopefully this discussion will set us down a route which is more ethical as an industry.


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