Slide 1 of 67 Introduction to Public Relations

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Slide 1 of 67 Introduction to Public Relations

  1. 1. Introduction to Public Relations Part One Public Relations…The Profession Chapter 4 Law and Ethics © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. An Assignment Reminder… <ul><li>Before viewing this lesson, please read the following textbook material: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Public Relations: The Profession and the Practice, Chapter 4: Law and Ethics </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>A Conceptual Schema for Studying Public Relations </li></ul>Part 1 Chapter 4 falls here. Slide of 67 Research Strategic Planning Evaluation Action and Communication Media Relations Employee Relations Community Relations Consumer Relations The Profession Introduction Theory Law and Ethics History The Process Part 2 The Publics Part 3 The Practice Part 4 Public Affairs and Government Not-for-Profit Corporate Financial Emerging Trends
  4. 4. <ul><li>We will study the ways in which PR practitioners exhibit ethical behaviors and the laws which affect them. </li></ul><ul><li>We will gain an understanding of the different perspectives of lawyers as compared to those of PR practitioners. </li></ul>In Part Four–Chapter 4, Our Focus Is Law and Ethics
  5. 5. Today’s Learning Objectives <ul><li>1. Be able to define ethics. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Understand why good ethics are vital to the practitioner’s job. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Know the five realms of ethical practice. </li></ul><ul><li>4. Understand the legal and public relations point of views and </li></ul><ul><li>how they work together. </li></ul><ul><li>5. Know the legal obligations of public relations practitioners and the </li></ul><ul><li>regulations that affect them. </li></ul><ul><li>6. Understand First Amendment implications for public relations. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Are Public Relations Practitioners Unethical? <ul><li>Have you ever questioned the truthfulness of something said by a public relations practitioner (ex. a company spokesperson)? </li></ul><ul><li>Public relations practitioners face this challenge—they must exemplify a higher standard of ethics than their publics. </li></ul><ul><li>Without personal and public trust a practitioner will fail. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Ethics and Strategy <ul><li>Practitioners have learned to… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Value ethics as part of a long-term strategy of building a good name or image. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fully integrate public relations into decision making functions to enhance good ethics. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. I. What Is Ethics? <ul><li>Definition: ethics is what is morally right or wrong in social conduct, usually as determined by standards of professions, organizations, and individuals. </li></ul>Ethics = Commitment to High Standards regardless of advantage
  9. 9. Ethics Is Based on One’s Character <ul><li>Word origin: comes from the Greek word ethos , referring to one’s character, the major force in right choices. </li></ul><ul><li>A person is viewed as ethical if one behaves by high standards of conduct and rightness, regardless of circumstantial advantage or reward. </li></ul>
  10. 10. II. Setting the Ethical Tone <ul><li>Practitioners are often the source of… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ethical statements from the organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>organizational policies on ethical conduct </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Initiate Organizational Ethics <ul><li>As a practitioner, you should give blanket endorsement to the ethical practices of the executive level. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You should initiate blameless, ethical organizational behavior. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. To Which Profession Do We Belong? <ul><li>Unless you are willing to resign an account or a job over a matter of principle, it is useless to call yourself a member of the world’s newest profession—for you are already a member of the world’s oldest. </li></ul><ul><li>--Tommy Ross </li></ul><ul><li>PR Practitioner </li></ul>
  13. 13. A Change in Perceptions of Ethics <ul><li>Click the image to read about changes in how business people perceive the importance of good ethics. </li></ul>Be aware of five realms of ethical conduct…
  14. 14. III. The Challenge of Ethical Practice in Five Realms <ul><li>There are five realms involving ethical practice: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethics as standards of social conduct </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethical dealings with news media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethics and laws </li></ul></ul>We’ll examine these realms individually…
  15. 15. Realm One: Ethics As Standards of Social Conduct <ul><li>The practitioner should understand several factors regulating standards of social conduct: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Factor 1: Tradition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ways in which the situation has been viewed or handled in the past (We’ve always done it this way). </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. The Influence of Public Opinion and Law <ul><ul><li>Factor 2: Public Opinion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Currently acceptable behavior according to the majority of one’s peers. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Factor 3: Law </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Behaviors that are permissible and those that are prohibited by legislation. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. The Influence of Morality and Ethics <ul><ul><li>Factor 4: Morality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Generally a spiritual or religious prohibition. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Factor 5: Ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Standards set by the profession, an organization or oneself, based on conscience—what is right or fair to others as well as to self? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Realm Two: Individual Ethics <ul><li>Pubic relations practitioners must have high personal standards of ethics. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Without personal convictions, any professional code could easily become an object of relativism and manipulation. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Practitioners Have Moral Obligations <ul><li>To ourselves—to preserve our own integrity </li></ul><ul><li>To our clients—to honor our contracts and to use our professional expertise on our clients’ behalf </li></ul><ul><li>To our organizations—to adhere to organizational goals and policies </li></ul><ul><li>To our profession—to uphold the standards of the profession and, by extension, the reputation of our fellow practitioner </li></ul><ul><li>To our society—to consider social needs and claims </li></ul>
  20. 20. Individual Ethical Tips <ul><li>Here are eight tips to guide you in developing your own ethical convictions and behavior. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. Never accept a client or a job with an organization or person with questionable character or conduct. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Always be honest with everyone, especially the media. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. Don’t handle competing clients. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4. Don’t make unfair comments about competitors. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Ethical Tips Cont. <ul><ul><li>5. Keep the pubic interest in mind at all times. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>6. Respect confidences. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>7. Make sure all your financial activities are “above board.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>8. Use organizational codes—such as the PRSA Code—as a starting place, but incorporate your own standards as well. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Realm 3: Business Ethics <ul><li>Personal ethics can be in conflict with organizational ethics. </li></ul><ul><li>Professional codes, corporate policy and law are no guarantees of actual ethical behavior. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Actual behavior is always rooted in individual choices. </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Need for Total Honesty <ul><li>Credibility comes with total honesty. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anything less will destroy your credibility and usefulness to your employer. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>News media depend on practitioners for much of the information they pass on (usually unverified) to their audiences. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you provide inaccurate information, they will not rely on you as a source. </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Realm 4: Ethical Dealings With News Media <ul><li>Trust only comes with habitual ethical performance. </li></ul><ul><li>A practitioner’s effectiveness with the media can be destroyed by expensive shortcuts such as… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extravagant parties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expensive gifts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal favors </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Be Aware of Expectations <ul><li>Some media people expect such shortcuts and special treatment… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>but learn to tactfully decline offering unethical perks. </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Realm 5: Ethics and Law <ul><li>Following the letter of the law is not the same as being ethical. </li></ul><ul><li>However, public relations practitioners do need to be familiar with laws covering their particular clients. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Let’s Review Ethics: <ul><li>Ethics are standards of right social conduct, empowered by character not circumstances. </li></ul><ul><li>The practitioner's ethical choices are viewed by the public as equal to the organization’s trustworthiness. </li></ul><ul><li>One's ethical practice is affected by accepted standards of conduct, individual and business ethics, trust with mews media, and relative laws. </li></ul>
  28. 28. IV. Legal Topics <ul><li>Understand opposing views between public relations and legal counsel </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the role of the First Amendment in public relations practice </li></ul><ul><li>Assess the impact of regulatory agencies on public relations practice </li></ul>
  29. 29. Public Relations can be a legal landmine for the uninformed practitioner <ul><li>Public relations doesn’t seem like a dangerous profession. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The product of public relations—information—can be just as dangerous as many lethal weapons. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Information used improperly or illegally can result in individuals going to jail and organizations going out of business. </li></ul>Slide of 67
  30. 30. PR Practitioners and Lawyers <ul><li>Handling of information sets up the sometimes adversarial relationship between public relations practitioners and lawyers. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Practitioners know the value of “plain talk” in the court of public opinion. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lawyers are experts in understanding the discreet use of information. </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. PR practitioners have to work with lawyers <ul><li>Click on the picture to hear about working with legal counsel. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Knowing Your Legal Rights and Obligations <ul><li>Because public relations practitioners deal in information, they must understand their legal rights, as well as their legal obligations, if they are to help their organizations. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Several of these legal obligations are discussed in other chapters on financial and community relations. </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Walking a Tight Rope <ul><li>Legal Issues Scenario: </li></ul><ul><li>Imagine you, a McDonald's PR practitioner, are in a corporate meeting discussing this protest event. </li></ul><ul><li>A corporate lawyer wants to put the animal rights organization out of business with a lawsuit. </li></ul><ul><li>How would you respond? </li></ul>
  34. 34. Goal Responsible Behavior Avoid Liability Pits The Practitioner’s Focus The Lawyer’s Focus Slide of 67
  35. 35. Two Rules of Thumb <ul><li>Do not lie to the press, even if full disclosure is not possible. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not allow a legal perspective on issues to determine corporate policy or response on any given issue. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Legal Obligations for Practitioners <ul><li>First Amendment rights </li></ul><ul><li>Defamation </li></ul><ul><li>Invasion of privacy </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright and trademark laws </li></ul><ul><li>Regulations of the FTC, FDA and FCC </li></ul>
  37. 37. First Amendment Rights and Limits <ul><li>First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects individual freedom of expression and also freedom of the press. </li></ul>
  38. 38. What Does the First Amendment Say? <ul><ul><li>Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. Commercial Free Speech <ul><li>Some court decisions have been favorable regarding commercial speech by allowing corporations to speak out on public issues and to use issues-oriented advertising. However, courts are also interested in maintaining truth-in-advertising. </li></ul>
  40. 40. Individual Free Speech <ul><li>The Constitution provides broad latitude for individual citizens to exercise freedom of expression, although this is a continuing controversy in areas such as art and religious expression. </li></ul>
  41. 41. Organizational Free Speech <ul><li>Some court rulings suggest that corporations have freedoms similar to those of individuals. However, corporations have a greater potential to harm other freedoms, which often makes corporate expression more susceptible to scrutiny. </li></ul>
  42. 42. Many Business Problems Are Resolved In Two Courts … <ul><li>The court of law where lawyers plead their cases, and where business problems may appear after months or years of legal delays </li></ul><ul><li>The court of public opinion, where a business can be tried, found guilty and punished far more severely and quickly </li></ul>The requirements for winning vary considerably
  43. 43. Winners In The Court Of Law Tend To Be … <ul><li>Those who permit their attorneys to say “no comment” on camera and to the media </li></ul><ul><li>Those who delay legal proceedings until … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The other side runs out of time or money </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Witnesses have dispersed or passed away </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The average individual has forgotten about the problem or issue involved </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Those with the most money to hire the best lawyers </li></ul>The court of public opinion is another matter
  44. 44. Winners In The Court Of Public Opinion … <ul><li>Quickly and publicly accept responsibility for their actions </li></ul><ul><li>Redress legitimate grievances regardless of pending litigation </li></ul><ul><li>Deal with the media, the community and the aggrieved openly, honestly and immediately </li></ul>What’s the bottom line?
  45. 45. Those Winning the Legal Battle Often Lose The Public Relations War <ul><li>Those found guilty in the court of public opinion inevitably lose public confidence and… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Customers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personnel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Investors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other publics who don’t want to be associated with the company </li></ul></ul>Lost reputations are almost never recovered…
  46. 46. Organizations As Well As Media Can Be Guilty Of … <ul><li>Defamation – a communication that holds an individual up to contempt, hatred, ridicule or scorn </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Slander—oral defamation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Libel—published defamation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Criminal libel—may involve ‘inciting to riot’ or ‘breach of the peace’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Civil libel—involves only defamation </li></ul></ul></ul>
  47. 47. Defamation <ul><li>Defamation is the malicious and intentional expression of opinion, information or fact for the specific purpose of damaging another person’s reputation. </li></ul><ul><li>Claims of truth are the best defense against defamation, but not a guarantee of exoneration. </li></ul>Click on this image to view Britannica’s article on defamation
  48. 48. Two Types of Libel <ul><li>Criminal libel: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A “breach of peace” or other activity where the offender explicitly advocates illegal activities by others or adoption of attitudes that have severe negative consequences to another. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Civil libel: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A defamation that damages a reputation or inflicts emotional trauma that results in a loss of income or ability to function normally. </li></ul></ul>
  49. 49. Risk To Public Relations Practitioners Is Greatest In Civil Libel <ul><li>The following criteria make a statement libelous: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Publication of falsehood </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Damage to reputation, persons or income </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identification of injured party </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Malice or Negligence in information handling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Defamation of persons or organizations </li></ul></ul>Libel Defenses…
  50. 50. Successful Defenses Against Libel May Be … <ul><li>Truth: statements involved are truthful [and can be proven to be truthful] </li></ul><ul><li>Privilege: content originates in a governmental agency, but is presented fairly </li></ul><ul><li>Fair Comment: statements constitute ‘fair comment’ on a public issue and are supported by factual material </li></ul>Other legal pitfalls for practitioners:
  51. 51. Invasion of Privacy <ul><li>Appropriation or the unauthorized commercial use of an entity’s picture, likeness, or name. </li></ul><ul><li>Publication of private information—publishing true information not known by a great number of people. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires prior consent. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Intrusion or the surreptitious observation of an entity’s activities. </li></ul><ul><li>False light—when true facts are embellished with falsehoods, or exaggerated or used out of context. </li></ul>
  52. 52. Defenses of Invasion of Privacy Charges <ul><li>Obtain written consent from potential sources of legal suit. </li></ul><ul><li>Especially helpful in defense are signed release forms of legal responsibility. </li></ul>
  53. 53. Freedom of Information <ul><li>The Freedom of Information Act opens many governmental records to public [and practitioner] scrutiny. Most popular use: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obtaining information about labor unions, advocacy groups and others which which the corporation may come into conflict. </li></ul></ul>
  54. 54. FOI Act Limits Privacy of Public Officials <ul><li>Public officials and government enjoy much less privacy than do individuals in the private sector due to the Freedom of Information Act and the Sunshine Act. </li></ul><ul><li>Covers the U.S. federal government. </li></ul><ul><li>Applies to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Opinions in settled cases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statements of policy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff manuals affecting the public </li></ul></ul>
  55. 55. Protected Intellectual Property Practitioners need to know the legal limits <ul><li>Intellectual creations [original writings and works of creative art] generally are owned by their creators – individuals or organizations. They are subject to protection under copyright and trademark law. </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright refers to the legal protection afforded to the author or of a formalized method of communication or artistic expression such as… </li></ul><ul><li>books, movies, plays, music, dances, songs, sculptures, pictures and </li></ul><ul><li>other tangible fixed formats </li></ul>
  56. 56. You Can Use Copyrighted Material Under The Act’s Four ‘Fair Use’ Provisions If … <ul><li>Use is for non-commercial purposes </li></ul><ul><li>Content is not taken out of context </li></ul><ul><li>Credit is given to the source </li></ul><ul><li>The commercial value of the work is not materially reduced </li></ul><ul><li>You can use material if the percentage of the work used falls within specific limits [100-200 words from a major book or article] </li></ul>Trademarks are another matter
  57. 57. What Are Trademarks? <ul><li>Refers to the names and logos of products or product brands which are legally protected for exclusive or licensed commercial use. </li></ul><ul><li>Corporations often seek to protect their trademarks from others who could profit from them. </li></ul><ul><li>Trademark Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Product names such as Kleenex </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brand names like Chevrolet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Graphic renderings of those names in specific type faces and/or with accompanying artwork </li></ul></ul>
  58. 58. Conspiracy Penalties are Possible … <ul><li>Knows about a felony and fails to report that knowledge to the authorities or actively covers up the felony. </li></ul>For any individual who… The law extends to information about felonies that have been committed by an employer, a client or a third party
  59. 59. Contracts <ul><li>Legal documents that specify the actions and expectations of two or more parties for the protection of each. </li></ul><ul><li>Contracts stipulate… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>what each can do in the relationship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>under what circumstances they can act </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>what monetary and/or productive compensation will be received </li></ul></ul>Regulatory agencies’ rules also apply
  60. 60. Government Regulatory Agencies <ul><li>Three of the government regulatory agencies that can limit how public relations practitioners create and disseminate information are the… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FTC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FDA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FCC </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Such agencies are concerned with the legal dimensions of public relations messages and/or advertising claims. </li></ul>
  61. 61. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) <ul><li>Communication directly affecting economic exchanges or trade must be true. </li></ul><ul><li>Claims in ads or press releases must be verifiable. </li></ul>Click on the image to read a press release from the FTC regarding Exxon. Such oversight greatly affects the practitioner’s work as a manager/communicator.
  62. 62. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) <ul><li>Information about food, drugs and cosmetics must conform to federal standards for health and safety. </li></ul><ul><li>Click on the image to read an overview of the FDA’s massive operation. </li></ul>
  63. 63. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) <ul><li>Regulates broadcasting including Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and required opportunities to respond to public issues. </li></ul>Click on the image to visit the FCC’s official web site.
  64. 64. Binding Regulations Are Imposed By … <ul><li>The Federal Trade Commission covering advertising and news releases </li></ul><ul><li>The Food and Drug Administration covering labeling </li></ul><ul><li>The Securities and Exchange Commission covering insider trading </li></ul><ul><li>The National Labor Relations Board covering unfair labor practices </li></ul><ul><li>And there are others as well </li></ul>
  65. 65. <ul><li>Laws and regulations also apply to the Internet… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Libel and slander </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Copyright and trademark </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And the provisions of most of the statutes and regulations mentioned earlier </li></ul></ul><ul><li>From practical and legal standpoints, the Internet is a medium like any other. </li></ul>Internet Communication
  66. 66. The Internet and the First Amendment <ul><li>Click on the image to read an article on this issue from the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology. </li></ul>
  67. 67. In Summary… <ul><li>The agendas of practitioners and lawyers often clash because they counsel their superiors regarding two different courts. </li></ul><ul><li>Misuse of the First Amendment is safeguarded by court precedent and state law concerning defamation, invasion of privacy, property rights, contracts, and The Freedom of Information Act. </li></ul><ul><li>Three government agencies regulate the accuracy of ads/press releases (FTC), food and drug packaging (FDA), and broadcasting (FCC). </li></ul>

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