Honesty, Accuracy and Never Mislead or Deceive

Full and limited disclosure and transparency have something in common: All require honesty and accuracy.

A practitioner should never hide information on the behalf of his/her organization or client. Let’s return for a moment to the blogger example we used to explain full disclosure. If the blogger did not disclose that he/she had received the product from the company and/or that compensation was received for the review the public reading the blog would not have all the information necessary. The blogger would not be acting honestly.

The information would not be accurate because pertinent information had purposely been left out of the conversation. The communication would not be transparent. Practitioners should always be responsible with the information that they release, and they should be certain to release all information that is necessary for others to make decisions when purchasing a product or service or supporting a cause. By being transparent and by providing all needed information, an organization allows its publics to engage in responsible decision making. In fact, Lukaszewski says that when trust is needed, disclosure and candor and openness with speed should be a practitioner’s guiding principles.

Furthermore, a fundamental principle of public relations is never to mislead or deceive. Practitioners should always be as honest as they can under the circumstances they face. Not only are purposively omitting information or deceiving the public unethical and not transparent, but these actions are likely to pull organizations, clients, and practitioners into the embarrassment of being caught in a lie or partial truth.

Remembering the importance of disclosure and transparency is especially important during times of crisis or negative publicity. Honesty and accuracy can help an organization to regain trust, and trust has to exist to foster goodwill, which is always necessary for weathering a crisis or problem.

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