... to be self-evident: that most people believe themselves to be professionally ethical, and that will act accordingly when faced with an ethical dilemma.

Yet, we see evidence to the contrary every day in both business and personal matters. That's why it's important to define a set of norms for people to follow, something PRSA recognized decades ago when it developed the earliest versions of a Code of Ethics for PR professionals.

PRSA led the way in defining a set of standards for professional communicators. A summary of the code's provisions appears below; more detailed information is available on the national website. If you have a serious concern in the conduct of business, or simply need clarification on any of these areas, please contact PRSA Boston's Ethics Officer.


 PRSA Code of Ethics

Professional Values

Advocacy — We serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for those we represent. We provide a voice in the marketplace of ideas, facts, and viewpoints to aid informed public debate.

Honesty We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public.

Expertise We acquire and responsibly use specialized knowledge and experience. We advance the profession through continued professional development, research, and education. We build mutual understanding, credibility, and relationships among a wide array of institutions and audiences.

Independence We provide objective counsel to those we represent. We are accountable for our actions.

Loyalty We are faithful to those we represent, while honoring our obligation to serve the public interest.

Fairness — We deal fairly with clients, employers, competitors, peers, vendors, the media, and the general public. We respect all opinions and support the right of free expression.

Guidelines in Conducting PR

  1. Be honest and accurate in all communications.
  2. Reveal sponsors for represented causes and interests.
  3. Act in the best interest of clients or employers.
  4. Disclose financial interests in a client’s organization.
  5. Safeguard the confidences and privacy rights of clients and employees.
  6. Follow ethical hiring practices to respect free and open competition.
  7. Avoid conflicts between personal and professional interests.
  8. Decline representation of clients requiring actions contrary to the Code.
  9. Accurately define what public relations activities can accomplish.
  10. Report all ethical violations to the appropriate authority.


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