In summary, the key points that I have learned from this week’s readings are that public relations practitioners must always be mindful of their decisions, those of their colleagues and the person(s) or organisation(s) they represent when planning and carrying out a public relations campaign so as to adhere to the bodies of law and ethics that have been set in place by lawmakers and the collective of practicing public relations professionals in order to govern their actions and protect the public.
According to Johnston and Zawawi (2004) it is wise for public relations practitioners to not only remain vigilant but also proactive in creating stratagem that serve to diminish the probability of legal repercussions that may arise as a result of actions they have carried out. Four important bodies of law that public relations practitioners should familiarise themselves with are the tort of defamation, the tort of negligence, intellectual property law and contract law.
The tort of defamation prohibits any publication that may adversely affect the reputation of an individual or organization. The tort of negligence stipulates the responsibilities of professionals to their clients and to the general public. Unlike real, personal property law, intellectual property law aims to protect the creative ideas of an individual or organisation rather than ownership of land and things considered a part of that land such as a home. Contract law plays an integral part in the field of public relations as contracts delineate the roles and obligations of each party in a public relations campaign that generally adhere to predetermined time constraints.
My learning builds upon previous learning about public relations in that I knew public relations practitioners were subject to bodies of law and codes of ethics just like everybody else however I had not been previously educated on the particular bodies of law that professionals must pay the most attention to.