CODE OF ATHENS – International Code of Ethics for Public Relations

Presented to CERP’s Council meeting in London, January 1965, and adopted by CERP’s General Assembly in Athens, May 1965. – Also adopted and recognized by IPRA. All the Associations affiliated to CERP have adopted the Code of Athens. 


International Code of Ethics for Public Relations



CONSIDERING that all Member countries of the United Nations Organisation have agreed to abide by its Charter which reaffirms “its faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person” and that having regard to the very nature of their profession, Public Relations practitioners in these countries should undertake to ascertain and observe the principles set out in this Charter,

CONSIDERING that, apart from “fights”, human beings have not only physical or material needs but also intellectual, moral and social needs, and that their rights are of real benefit to them only insofar as these needs are essentially met,

CONSIDERING that, in the course of their professional duties and depending on how these duties are performed, Public Relations practitioners can substantially help to meet these intellectual, moral and social needs,

And lastly, CONSIDERING that the use of techniques enabling them to come simultaneously into contact with millions of people gives Public Relations practitioners a power that has to be restrained by the observance of a strict moral code.

On all these grounds, the undersigned Public Relations Associations hereby declare that they accept as their moral charter the principles of the following Code of Ethics and that if, in the light of evidence submitted to the Council, a member of these associations should be found to have infringed this Code in the course of his professional duties, he will be deemed to be guilty of serious misconduct calling for an appropriate penalty.

Accordingly, each Member of these Association:


  1. – To contribute to the achievement of the moral and cultural conditions enabling human beings to reach their full stature and enjoy the indefeasible rights to which they are entitled under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  1. – To establish communication patterns and channels which, by fostering the free flow of essential information, will make each member of the group feel that he is being kept informed, and also give him an awareness of his own personal involvement and solidarity with other responsibility, and of his members;
  1. – To conduct himself always and in all circumstances in such a manner as to deserve and secure the confidence of those with whom he comes into contact;
  1. – To bear in mind that because of the relationship between his profession and the public, his conduct – even in private – will have an impact on the way in which the profession as a whole is appraised.



  1. – To observe, in the course of his professional duties, the moral principles and rules of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights“; 
  1. – To pay due regard to, and uphold, human dignity, and to recognise the fight of each individual to judge for himself;
  1. – To establish the moral, psychological and intellectual conditions for dialogue in its true sense, and to recognise the fight of the parties involved to state their case and express their views;
  1. – To act, in all circumstances, in such a manner as to take account of the respective interests of the parties involved: both the interests of the Organisation which he serves and the interests of the publics concerned;
  2. – To carry out his undertaking and commitments, which shall always be so worded as to avoid any misunderstanding, and to show loyalty and integrity in all circumstances so as to keep the confidence of his clients or employers, past or present, and of all the publics that are affected by his actions.



  1. – Subordinating the truth to other requirements;
  2. – Circulating information which is not based on established and ascertainable facts;
  3. – Taking part in any venture or undertaking which is unethical or dishonest or capable of impairing human dignity and integrity;
  4. – Using any manipulative methods or techniques designed to create subconscious motivations which the individual cannot control of his own free will and so cannot be held accountable for the action taken on them.