PRINZ says, ethical public relations is here to stay

PRINZ Media statement, issued 4 December, 2014

PRINZ President Bruce Fraser has taken issue with NBR reporter Calida Smylie's view that NBR subscribers don't believe public relations professionals are simply balancing out media and public commentary on contentious issues. Mr Fraser strongly refutes the suggestion that ethics and public relations do not coexist, saying that ethical, best-practice public relations describes what PRINZ members do every day.

On Monday 1 December, the NBR released the results of a subscriber poll that asked: 'Is ethical public relations an oxymoron'?'

With the results of its question line: 'Yes, all spin doctors are paid liars' (64%), or 'No, PR can be effective without being deceptive' (36%), reporter Calida Smylie wrote, "It seems NBR member subscribers aren't swallowing the line that public relations professionals are simply balancing out media and public commentary on contentious issues."

"The media and public aspects of PR referred to in the poll are only parts of the professional toolkit with many other components like stakeholder engagement, community relations, investor relations and internal communications. Using the full breadth of the industry's skill sets, our members help build and manage the relationships of our companies and clients so that their brands and reputations are managed, protected and enhanced. To equate PR to the handling of contentious issues only demonstrates a narrow, incomplete view of the value of the profession.

"Ethical, best-practice public relations describes what our members do every day. Within the bounds of guidelines and standards, like those of other professions, PRINZ members practice ethical pr. This can include addressing misperceptions that may exist about their company or client in a number of ways: with facts, business performance information, achievements and company activity and third party endorsement from customers, clients, suppliers and other organisations. Their work contributes strongly to organisational outcomes, often in ways that are never seen by the public.

"The PRINZ Awards each year recognise public relations success that achieves business goals and objectives. The 2013 and 2014 Awards alone gave recognition to members' work that contributed to: reducing speeding, improving road safety, building awareness of child abuse, increasing recycling levels, the introduction of crowd sourced fundraising to NZ, educating travellers on their goods duty, technological innovation, improving employee engagement, promoting products, events and services to name just a few," says Bruce.

To be accepted as a member of PRINZ, applicants must agree to abide by the PRINZ Code of Ethics. PRINZ reviews the Code of Ethics regularly to ensure that it meets societal and technological changes.