In this age of a borderless flat world, communications are the very soul of a society and every sphere of human activity. Perceptions are in fact the reality for practically every individual in today's fast paced world where the attention span of people is in microseconds. Page 3 is the direct result of this phenomenon.
Hence the explosive growth of the electronic and print media has happened. Spinmeisters and lobbyists shape the public opinion and by logical extension, purchase decisions, policy options and voting in an election. The Public Relations profession must realise the enormous power it wields, and regulate itself.
If any external agency like the Government or self-appointed moral policemen or a political party were to do this, there will be an enormous scope for censorship and corruption.
What should be the guiding principles for the Public Relations / Public Affairs profession? The 4 way test of the Rotary can be a very useful starting point.
Is it the Truth?
Is it fair for all concerned?
Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
If you want a single test :
Follow the age old advice of the Hippocratic Oath
"Above all do no harm"
N. Vittal, Former Central Vigilance Commissioner of India