We have warned our Public Relations course graduates that legal and regulatory changes meant a PR’s job in terms of reputation management was going to get harder.
And this has largely proved to be the case.
In January 2016, IPSO, the press regulator considerably broadened its definition of public interest, the media’s defence against breaches of the Code of Practice.
We explained to our online PR course students this meant the media would now find it easier to investigate, and to criticise businesses and their staff.
Public interest now equals:
- Detecting or exposing crime, or the threat of crime, or serious impropriety.
- Protecting public health or safety.
- Protecting the public from being misled by an action or statement of an individual or organisation.
- Disclosing a person or organisation’s failure, or likely failure to comply with any obligation to which they are subject.
- Disclosing a miscarriage of justice.
- Raising or contributing to a matter of public debate, including serious cases of impropriety, unethical conduct or incompetence concerning the public.
- Disclosing concealment, or likely concealment, of any of the above.
Clauses 5, 6 and 7 are new, and mean that journalists have more scope in publishing critical articles about our PR course students’ clients.
Also bear in mind:
- The Defamation Act 2013 has made it very difficult indeed for corporations to sue for libel, and also …
- It makes it far harder for individuals to sue for libel.
- You are now subject to EIR requests.
- The media now have qualified privilege when they use some corporate documents, and some scientific information.
Together, these make it much harder to use the law and the Ipso code to restrain the media.
We’ve told our PR course students to put on their creative thinking caps to find new strategies that they can use.
See our online PR course