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Six global organisations join forces against bribery for media coverage

Six global organisations today announced their support for a set of principles designed to foster greater transparency in the dealings between public relations professionals and the media, and to end bribery for media coverage throughout the world. The organisations are the International Press Institute, the International Federation of Journalists, Transparency International, the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management, the Institute for Public Relations Research and Education, and the International Public Relations Association.

The principles, embodied in the Charter on Media Transparency developed by the International Public Relations Association, are that:

  • News material should appear as a result of the news judgment of journalists and editors, and not as a result of any payment in cash or in kind, or any other inducements.
  • Material involving payment should be clearly identified as advertising, sponsorship or promotion.
  • No journalist or media representative should ever suggest that news coverage will appear for any reason other than its merit.
  • When samples or loans of products or services are necessary for a journalist to render an objective opinion, the length of time should be agreed in advance and loaned products should be returned afterwards.
  • The media should institute written policies regarding the receipt of gifts or discounted products and services, and journalists should be required to sign the policy.

"In too many countries, bribery of the news media robs citizens of truthful information that they need to make individual and community decisions," said Dr Donald K. Wright, 2004 President of the International Public Relations Association. "We started this campaign with the goal of creating greater transparency and eliminating unethical practices in dealings between news sources and the media."

"The International Press Institute's General Assembly has endorsed these principles because all attempts to corrupt the media compromise the freedom of expression that protects all other rights," said Johann P. Fritz, Director of the International Press Institute.

Peter Eigen, Chairman of the Board of Transparency International, said, "We have long believed in the power of coalitions to combat corruption in all its forms. The media has an important watchdog role to hold to account those in positions of power. To be credible in this role, it is essential that journalists refuse bribes and the corporate sector desists from offering bribes. It is also crucial that editors, publishers and media owners give journalists all the support they need to implement the media transparency principles announced today."

"Courageous reporters risk life and limb every day to defend press freedom and human rights," said Aidan White, General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists. "We cannot stand by while bribery mocks those sacrifices, anywhere in the world."

"We represent professional public relations associations in 53 countries, and we want to bring that grassroots strength to this coalition for media transparency," said Jean Valin, Chair of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management. "This is closely linked to ethics in organizations, which is a cornerstone of effective and credible communication with the public."

"Last year the Institute for Public Relations Research and Education joined with the International Public Relations Association to release a comprehensive index that ranks 66 nations for the likelihood that print journalists will seek or accept cash for news coverage," said Frank Ovaitt, President and CEO-Elect of the Institute. "We continue to believe this is a critical issue that serious journalists and public relations people must address together."

The International Public Relations Association is the premier association for senior international public relations professionals, with over 1000 members worldwide.

The International Press Institute is a global organisation with members in 115 countries dedicated to the promotion and protection of press freedom and the improvement of the practices of journalism. IPI's membership is made up of editors, media executives and leading journalists working for some of the world's most respected media outlets.

The International Federation of Journalists is the world's largest organisation of journalists. The Federation represents around 500,000 members in more than 100 countries and promotes international action to defend press freedom and social justice through strong, free and independent trade unions of journalists.

Transparency International, founded in Berlin, Germany, is a non-profit worldwide coalition which is committed exclusively to fighting corruption. It raises public awareness of the damaging impact of corruption on social and economic development, and mobilises the government, private sector and civil society to work together.

The Global Alliance is composed of over 50 member organisations, representing more than 150,000 individuals, with a mission to unify the profession and provide a framework for collaboration among the public relations profession and its practitioners throughout the world.

The Institute for Public Relations Research and Education, located at the University of Florida, is dedicated to improving the professional practice of public relations through research, education, measurement and evaluation. The Institute's study of bribery for news coverage can be accessed at: http://www.instituteforpr.org

For additional information:

Frank Ovaitt, Institute for Public Relations Research and Education
+1 703 568-5611, iprceo@jou.ufl.edu

Dr. Donald K. Wright, International Public Relations Association
+1 251 380-0850, DonaldKWright@aol.com

Johann P. Fritz, International Press Institute
+ 43 1 512 90 11, ipi@freemedia.at

Jeff Lovitt, Transparency International
+49 30 3438 2045, jlovitt@transparency.org

Aidan White, International Federation of Journalists
+32 2 235 2200, aidan.white@ifj.org

Jean Valin, Global Alliance
+1 613 957 4215, jean.valin@justice.gc.ca


For any press enquiries please contact

Jeff Lovitt
Tel: +49-30-3438 2045
Fax: +49-30-3470 3912
press@transparency.org