Public relations and ethics: whose interests served?

Tuesday 2 Dec 2014

Dr Johanna FawkesA new book by a Charles Sturt University (CSU) academic examines the role of the professions in society, and the role of ethics in professions, particularly in the field of public relations.

The book, Public Relations Ethics and Professionalism: The shadow of excellence, is by Dr Johanna Fawkes, senior lecturer in public relations at the CSU School of Communication and Creative Industries in Bathurst.

"In this book, I explore professional ethics in general and public relations ethics in particular," Dr Fawkes said.

"I ask, do professions – especially newer types - over-state their value to society? Are they really as 'good' as they claim? Do their codes uphold standards or protect reputations?

"For example, many public relations scholars stress the contribution it makes to democracy, while critics accuse it of propaganda tactics. What if both points of view were heard?"

Instead of taking sides, Dr Fawkes brings Carl Jung's idea of wholeness to the debate, moving away from right/wrong simplicities towards a self-aware, holistic approach with implications for theory and practice.

"Academics in public relations and communication ethics in the region, the US and Europe have already been very enthusiastic about this new approach to old problems," she said. "It has started discussions online and at conferences, and should be very useful for students, academics and professionals."

CSU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Vann, will formally launch Public Relations Ethics and Professionalism: The shadow of excellence at 2pm Tuesday 9 December at the St James Ethics Centre, Level 2, Legion House, 161 Castlereagh Street, Sydney.

Public Relations Ethics and Professionalism: The shadow of excellence, is published in the Routledge New Directions in Public Relations and Communication Research series. For more information and to order online please click here.


Media contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews. The photo is of CSU academic and author Dr Johanna Fawkes.