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Formal complaint about Timberlands PR campaign

News release Thursday 19 August 1999


Bob Burton, co-author of Secrets and Lies, will deliver a formal complaint to the ethics committee of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) tomorrow morning requesting that they investigate the PR Timberlands campaign for breaches of the Institute's Code of Professional Practice.

Bob Burton has extensive experience writing, commenting and lecturing on the PR industry in Australia and is visiting New Zealand for 10 days for the launch of the book.

"PRINZ should investigate Timberlands' PR advisers over likely breaches of at least eight of the Institute's ethical guidelines for PR practitioners", Bob Burton said. "This is an important test case for whether the public relations institute is prepared to ensure its members uphold 'the highest standards of honesty, accuracy, integrity and decency'".

"I am sceptical about the ability of the the PR industry to self-regulate itself and believe the public should watch closely to see how the Institute handles the apparent unethical behaviour in the Timberlands case."

Particularly aspects of the Code of Professional Conduct that I beleive you should direct your attention to include the following provisions:

· "Conduct their professional activities in accord with the public interest and abide by the laws affecting the practice of public relations and business";

· "Adhere to the highest standards of honesty, accuracy, integrity and decency";

· "Not knowingly disseminate false or misleading information and act promptly to correct an erroneous communication for which they are responsible";

· "Not abuse the channels of public communication or the process of Government";

· "Always conduct themselves and their businesses in a manner that reflect favourably on the practice of public relations and the Insitute, and encourage other practitioners to do so too";

· "Always fully and publicly disclosing any client or business interest in all published editorial work";

· "Be prepared to identify publicly the name of the clients or employer on whose behalf any public communication is made"; and

· "Be committed to uphold, and where necessary, enforce the Code, and inform the Insitute of any evidence that a member may have breached the Code".

For more information, contact: Bob Burton c/- 04 3845074


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