The Declaration of Principles and Code of the Global Alliance for PR and Communication Management, representing 160,000 PR pros, is 15 pages long and has the most soaring prose we’ve ever seen about PR ethical standards and ethical behavior.

We especially like the statement: “Ethical performance, not principles, is ultimately what counts.”

Member PR Society of America, whose COO Bill Murray sits on the five-member executive board, announced a formal press boycott Sept. 1 and enforced it by barring O’Dwyer reporters from the 2011 PRSA conference in Orlando Oct. 15-18 including access to the 47 exhibitors.

VP-PR Arthur Yann, in a LinkedIn posting, later said that PRS had the legal right to bar “any and all” reporters from covering the Assembly. No reporters covered the Assembly for the first time in 40 years.

The Global Alliance and the Canadian PR Society are involved with PRS because GA chair Daniel Tisch of Argyle Communications, Toronto, is taking part in PRS’s quest for a new definition of PR.

Alliance Should Disavow Boycott

The GA, if it is to live up to its principles, which include supporting “especially freedom of speech” and “freedom of the media,” should join the National Press Club and PR Watch in rebuking PRS for its anti-press and anti-free speech policies.

PRS’s practices, which include failure to follow rules of the Financial Accounting Standards Board on booking dues income and Robert’s Rules on the use of proxies in its Assembly and the role of the Assembly, not only violate GA’s Principles and Code but the practices of CPRS where Tisch is a Fellow.

CPRS audiocasts its annual general meeting and keeps a tape of it on the CPRS website. Anyone can attend including the general public and reporters. Reporters are also allowed to join CPRS although no working press are members at present. About half of the members are former reporters.

CPRS posts its audit on its website whereas reporters are not allowed access to the PR Society financials including either the annual report or quarterly statements. Reporters are not allowed to join PRS.

This website has catalogued 20 communications abuses at PRS including the new one of failure to put minutes of board meetings on the website. There are no minutes of 2011 board meetings.

Ann Gregory
Gregory of U.K. is Chair-Elect

Chair-elect of the GA is Anne Gregory, professor of PR and director of the Centre for PR Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University, London. She was president of the Chartered Institute of PR in 2004 and led it to Chartered status.

She and other directors of GA are being asked to disavow the press ban of PRS.

We want her and other members of the executive committee to tell us whether the PR Society is living up to the pledge of “fairness” in the GA Code by only allowing this writer a single corrective post on the PRSAY blog after numerous false statements were made about us on that website.

The discussion was shut down after four days, leaving 16 negative posts about us and two positive posts. Web practice is to keep open such dialogues indefinitely.

By no stretch of the imagination can cutting off debate like that be considered “fair.”

PRS and others are working on a new definition of PR but there’s no use doing this if PR groups are not going to live up to the high ideals expressed in current codes.

Arrow of New Zealand is Secretary

Secretary of the GA is Catherine Arrow, who has a 30-year background in PR and journalism and who is now in her own firm. She is head of learning for the P
Catherine Arrow
R Institute of New Zealand while counseling government, commercial and not-for-profit entities.

She is a CIPR Fellow, Chartered Practitioner, Accredited Practitioner and member of PRINZ.

John Paluszek, senior counsel at Ketchum, New York and Washington, D.C., is on the executive board as immediate past chair.

He is liaison to the United Nations for the GA and PRS. He was president of PRS in 1989.

Nina Volles Bird is chief administrative officer based at the GA Center in Lugano, Switzerland. She joined ion 2009 and previously worked in corporate communications for more than ten years. From 1993 to 1998 she was communications manager, Lonza Group and at Sandoz International in Basel.