Ethics and Law in PR

The concepts of ethics and law go hand in hand not only in public relations, but nearly any business setting. Ethics are not there to simply abide by the law and following the law doesn’t necessarily make for great ethics. Ethics are extremely important from a public relations perspective. When an action is deemed unethical by the public, trouble arises. For that simple reason, it is imperative to display good business ethics and have it be seen every once in a while. Groups are fully responsible for maintaining a healthy ethical disposition. Guidelines should be established beforehand for groups to abide by and follow. A universally accepted outline has become:

  • Advocacy
  • Honesty
  • Expertise
  • Independence
  • Loyalty
  • Fairness

Following these six guidelines will help any organization work toward maintaining in good ethical standings.

Law is another major factor in the game of public relations. First and foremost, it is important as an organization to know your rights in full. Know what can or cannot be done, period. With a variety of outlets to speak, groups must remain in top shape across all forms of media. Some standout laws when dealing with public relations include defamation law, disclosure law, ethics law, copyright law and internet law to name a few.

In modern time, anyone has the power to be a journal through social media. We can say what we want to say, when we want to for the most part. Trouble can enter rather quickly however given the size of the community on the media outlets. It should be noted that although American’s voices are protected by free speech, we cannot simply run around spewing whatever we want. Enter defamation. Defamation law protects people from being accused or proposed of untrue statements that would damage their character. A variety of celebrities face these attacks quite often today and do not hesitate to take action. With your celebrity essentially being your brand, true defamation should not be taken likely as such malicious claims can easily damage your reputation. A list of celebrities who have taken action to defamation lawsuits can be found here:


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