The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) has received enquiries regarding the release of personal details by a PR consultancy of an alleged victim of abuse in Nauru. While this is an international matter and currently under investigation by authorities, the ethical implications deserve a direct response.
PRIA strongly condemns the distribution and publication of any material that involves an invasion of privacy for any individual. The release of personal information that causes harm or distress to any person is strictly in breach of our Code of Ethics which binds our members to adherence of agreed standards of behaviour. Members are required to provide a written commitment to the Code upon joining and again annually, when memberships are renewed.
There are prescribed procedures for receiving and investigating claims of Member breaches of the code by the Ethics Committee and sanctions. Any member of the community who feels that a breach of the PRIA Code of Ethics has occurred should lodge a formal complaint to the PRIA Ethics Committee by emailing the Honorary Secretary, Arthur E Delbridge AM LFPRIA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this case however, the individuals and consultancy are not PRIA members and are therefore not bound by our Code of Ethics. This incident reinforces the requirement for the highest standards in communication to be applied and PRIA encourages qualified practitioners to consider the benefits of Membership and join us in upholding these standards.
We are concerned at all times that the Australian law and codes of conduct in relation to privacy, judicial and health matters are clearly understood and respected. PRIA accredited university courses and professional development programs constantly reinforce best practice and work with all types of organisations including media, health and legal institutions.