Should a public relations code of ethics be enforced?

Journal of Business Ethics 31 (3):259 - 270 (2001)
Abstract
Whether or not a public relations code of ethics should be enforced, among others, has become one of the most widely controversial topics, especially after the Hill and Knowlton case in 1992. I take the position that ethical codes should be enforced and address this issue from eight aspects: (a) Is a code of ethics an absolute prerequisite of professionalism? (b) Should problems of rhetoric per se in a code of ethics become a rationale against code enforcement? (c) Is a code of ethics of any significance? (d) Is the ethical code is enforceable, (e) Would the licensure system interfere with the freedom of expression of the practitioners? (f) Do PR practitioners choose to be ethical (if they do) because they have to be or because they want to be? (g) Would the public interest be virtually assured as a result of a public relations? and (h) Can education in ethics overcome the ethical problems in public relations?
Keywords code enforcement  code of ethics  freedom of expression  professionalism  public relations  public interest
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