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English Version

Code of Athens

International Code of Ethics for Public Relations

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CONSIDERING that all Member countries of the United Nations Organisation have agreed to abide by its Charters which reaffirms “its faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person” and that having regard to the very nature of their profession, Public Relations practitioners in these countries should undertake to ascertain and observe the principles set out in this Charter,

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CONSIDERING that, apart from “rights”, human beings have not only physical or material needs but also intellectual, moral and social needs, and that their rights are of real benefit to them only insofar as these needs are essentially met,

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CONSIDERING that, in the course of their professional duties and depending on how these duties are performed, Public Relations practitioners can substantially help to meet these intellectual, moral and social needs,

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And lastly, CONSIDERING that the use of techniques enabling them to come simultaneously into contact with millions of people gives Public Relations practitioners a power that has to be restrained by the observance of a strict moral code,

On all these grounds, the Public Relations Associations which have recognised the present document declare that they accept as their moral charter the principles of the following Code of Ethics, and that if, in the light of evidence submitted to the Council, a member of these associations should be found to have infringed this Code in the course of his professional duties, he will be deemed to be guilty of serious misconduct calling for an appropriate penalty.

Accordingly, each Member of these Associations:

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SHALL ENDEAVOUR

  1. To contribute to the achievement of the moral and cultural conditions enabling human beings to reach their full stature and enjoy the indefeasible rights to which they are entitled under the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”;
  2. To establish communication patterns and channel which, by fostering the free flow of essential information will make each member of the society in which he lives feel that he is being kept informed, and also give him an awareness of his own personal involvement and responsibility, and of his solidarity with other members;
  3. To bear in mind that, because of the relationship between his profession and the public, his conduct – even in private – will have an impact  on the way in which the profession as a whole is appraised;
  4. To respect, in the course of his professional duties, the moral principles and rules of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”;
  5. To pay due regard to, and uphold, human dignity and to recognise the right of each individual to judge for himself;
  6. To encourage the moral, psychological and intellectual conditions for dialogue in its true sense, and to recognise the right of the parties involved to state their case and express their views;

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SHALL UNDERTAKE

  1. To conduct himself always and in all circumstances in such a manner as to deserve and secure the confidence of those with whom he comes into contact
  2. To act, in all circumstances, in such a manner as to take account of the respective interests of the parties involved: both the interests of the organisation which he serves and the interest of the public concerned
  3. To carry out his duties with integrity, avoiding language likely to lead to ambiguity or misunderstanding, and to maintain loyalty to his clients or employers, whether past or present

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SHALL REFRAIN FROM

  1. Subordinating the truth to other requirements;
  2. Circulating information which is not based on established and ascertainable facts;
  3. Taking part in any venture or undertaking which is unethical or dishonest or capable of impairing human dignity and integrity
  4. Using any “manipulative” methods or techniques designed to create subconscious motivations which the individual cannot control of his own free will and so cannot be held accountable for the action taken on them. 

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The Code of Athens was adopted by the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) at its General Assembly held in Athens, Greece, in May 1965, and was modified as above at the annual meeting of the IPRA Council held in Teheran, Iran, on 17th April 1968.

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