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March 08, 2011

Boston Globe: Public Relations Driven by Code of 'Doing Right' — PRSA Letter to the Editor

PRSA had a letter to the editor of the The Boston Globe published March 8, 2011, in response to a March 4, 2011, Boston Globe front-page article about Boston-based consulting firm Monitor Group providing public relations consulting services to Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy.

Letter to the Editor: Public Relations Driven by a Code of 'Doing Right'

THE FRONT-PAGE article “Local consultants aided Khadafy: Cambridge firm tried to polish his image’’ (March 4) is commendable for its examination of the activities of business management consultants Monitor Group. But its references to “image’’ and to generating “positive news coverage’’ may have left some readers with the unfortunate misperception that these individuals are public relations practitioners.
Public relations places an emphasis on counseling reputable organizations and individuals in developing and maintaining beneficial relationships with concerned stakeholders. Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy shows no inclination to embrace this fundamental concept; rather, with the aid of Monitor Group, he appears to have been more interested in manipulating those who find themselves associated, willingly or not, with him and his dictatorial regime.
The Public Relations Society of America’s Code of Ethics delineates what comprises ethical public relations, and could be condensed to a single statement: Do the right thing. Aiding a dictatorial tyrant in the fabrication of a false persona is not the right thing, and most assuredly not the hallmark of ethical public relations or business practices.

Kirk Hazlett, Belmont, Mass.
The writer, a professor of communication at Curry College, is speaking as a board member of the New York-based Public Relations Society of America

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