Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Public Relations Is Truth Well Told!

I read the title somewhere and immediately liked it.Isnt that true? Can an organisation reveal everything to the publics (media) because being transparent is important as said in many definitions of Public Relations?

Rawlins (2008) advocated “transparency through every aspect of corporate communications” (p. 2) that embraces open, authentic communication of organizational successes and failures; facilitates ongoing discussion; and relinquishes a seemingly incessant institutional drive to maintain the image of perfection.

But how important it is in being totally transparent? I m not saying we should go all out in giving information but say that, that will be appropriate for the organsiation in that particular situation.The paper Is Full Transparency Always the Best Approach?exaclty argues the same point, says that infact it is ethically correct for both the organisation and its stakeholders.

Lets say there is a crisis in an organisation will you give all details of the crisis that ocurred or will you be careful only in revealing those facts that are necessary? Or will you simply ignore the situation and pretend as if it never existed? How will you handle a journalist who is screaming into your ears demanding explainations or the community who is upset as it is direclty affected by the crisis?

As a public realtions practitioner will you be transparent or transluscent?


  1. Posted from the India PR Forum to the blog:

    Hey Meenakshi! That's a nice topic. And one with varied beliefs. Absolute transparency is theoretical, however, what's more practical is translucency. I believe in that. I even practice that. Let me explain why.

    I personally feel many people lose sight of the real objective of a PR campaign and confuse the means with the end. Transparency is the means to achieve better health of the organisation, its owners / investors / stakeholders and in reassuring the regulators. But transparency cannot become the goal. Better organisational health should be.

    Now, if the objective is better organisational health, then absolute transparency may not be the right thing to do at all times. Not everything can be made public owing to various reasons (sabotage, competitive edge, etc). Add to that, not all stakeholders are equipped to understand the what's and why's of the management decision. As a PR professional, if I'm convinced that the right decisions have been taken, then it's okay to be secretive about certain things. It's ultimately for the stakeholders and investors' benefit.

    That's translucency. And I'm totally for it... :-)


    Aarif Malik
    Mumbai. INDIA.
    Cell: +91 9833934002

  2. Posted from the India PR Forum to the blog:

    The nature of truth, and more importantly, revealing the truth, is being increasingly debated in forums of ‘public relations ethics’ since the emergence of the profession (or semi-profession, as some smugly opine). Is there a consensus on telling the truth, and how much of it to which group/s of stakeholder/s? I don’t believe we have arrived home on this so far. The governance of institutions and its patterns of decision-making are far too complex for public relations professionals alone to decide the merits or demerits of telling the truth to stakeholders in predictable patterns, more so when public relations practitioners are generally not factored in the decision-making process itself but largely figure at the decision implementation end. The ethical conduct of institutions is being increasingly demanded. There is no doubt about that. But there are inherent risks for public relations practitioners in the way (even truthful) information is dissected/filtered and transformed in n-step flows, especially by the media (especially TV), where journalistic judgments have been found far too unsatisfactory (the reasons are far too well-known to draw into debate here). In short, decisions on transparency or translucency become situation-dependent. – Dr. Rohit Raj Mathur (

  3. I think 'what' u say is not as important as 'how' you say it. The tone, the style and attitude in which you convey the message takes precedence. For e.g: if a new bakery has opened in the city & you just issue a press release, it may or may not get carried but if you send a basket full of freshly baked muffins to RJ's early in the morning they will definitely appreciate it & may even announce it on air.

    PR is truly truth well told!

    Kainaz Daver

  4. From whatever I have learned or know about PR, the primary objective of a PRO is to safeguard his company's interests. Also he is answerable to his bosses or the company owners for his action/inaction. So, in a crisis like situation, it is better to listen to the man who pays you salary!