By Cassy van Eeden

A large part of her presentation focussed on the Unified Code of Ethics. The code was developed alongside eight other associations and is now largely accepted in the PR industry.

Fadeeva, who is also the president of the Orta Communications Group and the vice-president of the Russian PR Association, spoke to Media Update about the ins and outs of the code.

How important are ethics in the PR industry? Why do we need ethics in public relations?

Ethics serves as just the right platform, which sets the standards of conduct and the ground rules for behaviour, [which] builds trust and makes leadership sustainable. Our personal example demonstrates that this approach also works best for successful business development too: as one of the first PR agencies on the Russian PR market, since its inception in 1993 Vanguard PR, and later FleishmanHillard Vanguard adhered to the best international standards, transparent, ethical practices.

We believe that professionalism and ethical conduct help build long-term leadership and trust – both of target audiences and our clients.

Can you tell us a bit about the Unified Code of Ethics that FleishmanHillard Vanguard developed along with other associations?

In Russia and CIS, PR professionals have traditionally been facing the challenge of declining trust in media, in communications in general, but also facing the challenges of building the trust and reputation of the profession itself. We in FleishmanHillard Vanguard had recognised that we have to drive meaningful change in the industry by fostering transparency and highest standards of ethical conduct among all communications stakeholders and future professionals.

The pressing need for a united set of ethical rules in communications has become apparent to us over time, and many business leaders have been expressing the sentiment that they would gladly follow an ethical rulebook, but only if everyone else would as well.

We created and led a Working Group joined by eight key leading business and industry associations in the region which analyzed best international practices and local laws, including the ICCO Stockholm Charter, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Ethics as Culture initiative and other such sources. As the result, the first Code of Ethics was created, setting the standards of ethical conduct in all areas of communications and outlining their implementation. The Code incorporates local laws, best international practices and position of the whole industry. It was presented and discussed at over a dozen industry conferences as well as in media.

Can you give us a brief outline of the code? How does having a unified code of ethics that everyone agrees on and adopts benefit the PR industry?

The Code sets the standards of ethical conduct in communications, prescribing clear guidelines of ethical communications across all disciplines and sectors of the economy. The code of ethics proposes a system of enforcement, issue resolution and training on the subject of ethics in communications.

The benefits are already to see, with a raised trust and enhanced reputation of communications profession, but we believe that even more results for the industry is to follow with the further development of our continued efforts in this field.

The Code of Ethics in Communications prescribes the principles and the standards of ethical conduct across all communications disciplines for the participants of the communication process, including agencies, companies and individuals.

For more information, visit the FleishmanHillard Vanguard website. Alternatively, connect with the agency via Facebook or on Twitter.