From Germany: a fascinating model for fostering ethical behaviour. A must read for the concerned global professional community

Last Wednesday (October 10) in Berlin, some 150 senior professionals and scholars from the largest and most reputed German companies, agencies and universities met in Berlin to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Deutscher Rat fur Public Relations drpr_flyer_einladung_11.pdf

and I was particularly honoured to have been invited to address this distinguished parterre on behalf of the Global Alliance.
If interested you may read my remarks here my-dear-colleagues.doc.

But what is much more interesting is the article which appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Communication journal-of-communication-management.doc written by Horst Avenarius, the highly respected chair of the German council in which he argues that this model is working.

In a few words, the Council is interdisciplinary and assembles representatives from the public relations association, the media, journalistic and agency organizations and the advertising industry; it investigates not only on cases involving members of the various bodies but also on those involving other subjects; its investigations and decisions are all public.

These are unique characteristics and raise the issue of the high risk of libel suits by investigated subjects, but I discovered the other day that some years ago the giant Allianz insurance group had developed an ad hoc insurance policy, not only for the Council itself but also for the its individual members!

On the basis of this model (in 1988 we had attempted something similar in Italy with journalists and advertisers, but after having signed a pompous statement we never succeeded in making it work..), the Italian federation presented a proposal at the recent Paris September 14 general assembly of CERP (the European confederation of public relations association, a member of the Global Alliance) and succeeded in convincing doubtful members to set up a task force to evaluate the feasibility of setting up a similar although adjourned pan-European organization involving besides advertisers, agencies and journalists also internal communicators, investor relators, social media operators, political consultants and well as advocating amongst the 16 national CERP member associations to establish similar experiences in their own countries.

This seems to me as an important step forward, and I thought you might be interested in being aware of a not too frequent example of awareness by the international public relations community.

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