Ethics and the communicator

Paul Seaman on getting to grips with PR ethics

Why is it important to be an ethical communicator?
The word ethics derives from the Greek word ethos meaning character. Ethics governs how we ought to behave. To behave as one ought is to behave ethically. To fail to do so is to behave unethically. The problem, however, is that leading PR professionals rarely possess a basic grasp of either ethical theory or the moral philosophical reasoning that underpins it.
The PR bosses and academics that dominate our industry have yet to acknowledge the extent of the problem. As a consequence, our industry often remains powerless, and mostly acts as a counterproductive influence, when it comes to addressing the issues that threaten the reputations of modern institutions.
In short, we often make things worse by throwing fuel on the fire.