- Protect and advance the free flow of accurate and truthful information.
- Foster informed decision making through open communication.
BP refused to let government agencies or outside groups view photos and videos of the leak, while repeating a figure of 5,000 barrels per day that the company knew to be false. Only after extreme pressure from congressional Select Subcommittee on Energy and Independence and Global Warming did the company allow the public to see the live videos from the leak.
The unfortunate thing is that it will be impossible to convince many people that BP’s cynical and Orwellian way of dealing with the matter falls far outside the typical practice of the educated and ethical professional.
As PRSA’s accreditation chair for 2010 for Alabama, I’ve been especially concerned about this. Next week, top professionals will be teaching candidates for PR accreditation about matters ranging from strategic communications planning to research to evaluation. Part of that training will include a segment on legal and ethical concerns, and I believe it’s worth reminding those outside the profession that we do, indeed, operate within a conceptual and ethical framework that seeks to facilitate the free flow of information between our employers/clients and the various publics they serve.
I just wish BP would pay attention. And it would make me happy if non-professionals would read the provisions of the code and hold us all to account for strict adherence to it.