Are ethics important for PR practitioners?

Why are ethics important in the PR world? Why do they matter? The Merriam-Webster definition for ethics is the following: an area of study that deals with ideas about what is good and bad behavior : a branch of philosophy dealing with what is morally right or wrong. So, ethics is the little voice in your head saying that what you are doing is not morally right. What is defined as unethical is up to each individual person. Something that is highly unethical to one person may not be as unethical to another.

Ethical rules are broken every single day in the professional world and yet only a very small amount of those ethical rule breakers are caught. And when they are? There is rarely a harsh discipline for it. But who defines what is ethical or not? The professional world and society as a whole deems what is ethical or not. Society does not like when someone hides something for so long and then tries to deny it over and over. It’s certainly unethical to keep secrets about a highly decorated individual that could potentially hurt someone or something and not tell someone about the problem. It is unethical to delete emails if you were lazy with security measures and you try to hide it. It is VERY unethical to burn a source if you’re getting good, dependable, information and you decide to save yourself instead of the informant who risked so much for you.

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