Code of Ethics

This statement presents the core values of PRSA members and, more broadly, of the public relations profession. These values provide the foundation for the Member Code of Ethics and set the industry standard for the professional practice of public relations.

These values are the fundamental beliefs that guide our behaviors and decision-making process. We believe our professional values are vital to the integrity of the profession as a whole.


  • We serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for those we represent.
  • We provide a voice in the marketplace of ideas, facts and viewpoints to aid informed public debate.


  • We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public.


  • We acquire and responsibly use specialized knowledge and experience.
  • We advance the profession through continued professional development, research and education.
  • We build mutual understanding, credibility and relationships among a wide array of institutions and audiences.


  • We provide objective counsel to those we represent.
  • We are accountable for our actions. 


  • We are faithful to those we represent, while honoring our obligation to serve the public interest.


  • We deal fairly with clients, employers, competitors, peers, vendors, the media and the general public.
  • We respect all opinions and support the right of free expression.

Provisions and Guidelines

  • Within the following provisions, a member shall: 

Free Flow of Information

  • Preserve the integrity of the process of communication.
  • Be honest and accurate in all communications.
  • Act promptly to correct erroneous communications for which the practitioner is responsible.
  • Preserve the free flow of unprejudiced information when giving or receiving gifts by ensuring that gifts are nominal, legal and infrequent.


  • Follow ethical hiring practices designed to respect free and open competition without deliberately undermining a competitor.
  • Preserve intellectual property rights in the marketplace.

Disclosure of Information

  • Be honest and accurate in all communications.
  • Act promptly to correct erroneous communications for which the practitioner is responsible.
  • Investigate the truthfulness and accuracy of information released on behalf of those represented.
  • Reveal the sponsors for causes and interests represented.
  • Disclose financial interest (such as stock ownership) in a client’s organization.
  • Avoid deceptive practices.

Safeguarding Confidences

  • Safeguard the confidences and privacy rights of present, former and prospective clients and employees.
  • Protect privileged, confidential or insider information gained from a client or organization.
  • Immediately advise an appropriate authority if a member discovers that confidential information is being divulged by an employee of a client company or organization.

Conflicts of Interests

  • Act in the best interests of the client or employer, even subordinating the member’s personal interests.
  • Avoid actions and circumstances that may appear to compromise good business judgment or create a conflict between personal and professional interests.
  • Disclose promptly any existing or potential conflict of interest to affected clients or organizations.
  • Encourage clients and customers to determine if a conflict exists after notifying all affected parties. 

Enhancing the Profession

  • Acknowledge that there is an obligation to protect and enhance the profession.
  • Keep informed and educated about practices in the profession to ensure ethical conduct.
  • Actively pursue personal professional development.
  • Decline representation of clients or organizations that urge or require actions contrary to this Code.
  • Accurately define what public relations activities can accomplish.
  • Counsel subordinates in proper ethical decision making.
  • Require that subordinates adhere to the ethical requirements of the Code.
  • Report ethical violations, whether committed by PRSA members or not, to the appropriate authority.

Member Code of Ethics Pledge

To conduct myself professionally, with truth, accuracy, fairness and responsibility to the public; to improve my individual competence and advance the knowledge and proficiency of the profession through continuing research and education; and to adhere to the articles of the Member Code of Ethics 2000 for the practice of public relations as adopted by the governing Assembly of the Public Relations Society of America. I understand and accept that there is a consequence for misconduct, up to and including membership revocation. And, I understand that those who have been or are sanctioned by a government agency or convicted in a court of law of an action that is in violation of this Code may be barred from membership or expelled from the Society.