The Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA) acknowledges the Public Relations and Communications Association’s (PRCA) decision to expel Bell Pottinger for breaching the Professional Charter, and Public Affairs and Lobbying Code of Conduct through the work the company did in South Africa. The finding should be an eye-opener for public relations firms and their clients to establish relationships based on ethical conduct and professional standards.
PRISA members must adhere to the local body’s Code of Ethics and Professional Standards and to that set by its international partnership with Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management. Conduct of the Institute’s individual and consultancy members is governed by the Code of Ethics and Professional Standards.
“Ours is not the business of deception or alternative facts, but the business of accurate information, positive perceptions, mutually beneficial relationships, professional standards and ethical conduct. Public relations and communication management professionals have the power and opportunity to influence behaviour – positively or negatively, and it is our responsibility to ensure that power is used in the right way,” says Malesela Maubane, PRISA President Elect.
The ‘Paid Twitter’ or ‘War Room’ debacle, which gained momentum in the run up to the 2016 Local Government Elections in South Africa, is in PRISA’s view also an illustration of irresponsible use of communication channels, unethical conduct and unprofessional standards in public relations and communication management.
Maubane further says that advancing the 2012 Draft Green Paper on Legislated Regulation for the communication management profession remains PRISA’s top priority. Accelerated discussions and vigorous engagements with relevant stakeholders is ongoing. PRISA is urging closer collaboration among industry bodies, due to the Institute being only able to only sanction public relations and communication management professionals who are its members.
As an organisation with a Diamond Jubilee heritage, PRISA’s focus remains on regulatory aspects, transformation, advocacy, professional standards and ethics, the development of the body of knowledge, and being the go to place for latest development and training pertaining to the industry.