Code of Ethics
Because hundreds of thousands of business communicators worldwide engage in activities that affect the lives of millions of people, and because this power carries with it significant social responsibilities, the International Association of Business Communicators developed the Code of Ethics for Professional Communicators. The Code is based on three different yet interrelated principles of professional communication that apply throughout the world.
These principles assume that just societies are governed by a profound respect for human rights and the rule of law; that ethics, the criteria for determining what is right and wrong, can be agreed upon by members of an organization; and, that understanding matters of taste requires sensitivity to cultural norms.
These principles are essential:
- Professional communication is legal.
- Professional communication is ethical.
- Professional communication is in good taste.
Recognizing these principles, members of IABC will: Engage in communication that is not only legal but also ethical and sensitive to cultural values and beliefs; Engage in truthful, accurate and fair communication that facilitates respect and mutual understanding; Adhere to the following articles of the IABC Code of Ethics for Professional Communicators.
Because conditions in the world are constantly changing, members of IABC will work to improve their individual competence and to increase the body of knowledge in the field with research and education.
- Professional communicators uphold the credibility and dignity of their profession by practicing honest, candid and timely communication and by fostering the free flow of essential information in accord with the public interest.
- Professional communicators disseminate accurate information and promptly correct any erroneous communication for which they may be responsible.
- Professional communicators understand and support the principles of free speech, freedom of assembly, and access to an open marketplace of ideas and act accordingly.
- Professional communicators are sensitive to cultural values and beliefs and engage in fair and balanced communication activities that foster and encourage mutual understanding.
- Professional communicators refrain from taking part in any undertaking which the communicator considers to be unethical.
- Professional communicators obey laws and public policies governing their professional activities and are sensitive to the spirit of all laws and regulations and, should any law or public policy be violated, for whatever reason, act promptly to correct the situation.
- Professional communicators give credit for unique expressions borrowed from others and identify the sources and purposes of all information disseminated to the public.
- Professional communicators protect confidential information and, at the same time, comply with all legal requirements for the disclosure of information affecting the welfare of others.
- Professional communicators do not use confidential information gained as a result of professional activities for personal benefit and do not represent conflicting or competing interests without written consent of those involved.
- Professional communicators do not accept undisclosed gifts or payments for professional services from anyone other than a client or employer.
- Professional communicators do not guarantee results that are beyond the power of the practitioner to deliver.
- Professional communicators are honest not only with others but also, and most importantly, with themselves as individuals; for a professional communicator seeks the truth and speaks that truth first to the self.