Discuss the view that Public Relations is an essentially illegitimate and unethical form of communication in a democratic media system.
Public Relations is facing many dispute in society. It seems that it will bring many disadvantages to commerce and politics (Halff and Gregory, p.123). It is state that Public Relations is illegal because it could mislead publics. However, there are still some benefits for society. This essay will focus on discuss the legitimacy of Public Relations. It seems that Public Relations is not an essentially and unethical form in some situations. This essay will discuss the legal and illegal of the Public Relations. It suggests that Public Relations is legal and useful in a democratic media system.
In the past time, public relations has deep influence on some country. For instance, in 1990, Japan has suffered a big economic recession. Through the whole year, economy fell almost a half. Under this back ground, some companies need bail-outs so they do some advertising (Wason and Sallot, 2001, P.391). According to Wason and Sallot (2001, p.393), they find that companies try some ways in communication activities. Besides, media relations has the biggest emphasis in practice than advertisement. Many companies and communities prefer to build friendship with Medias (cited in Wason and Sallot, 2001,P.392). The author made a questionnaire of 51 items to them. It found that most of the subjects might believe public relations have more influence than advertising (Wason and Sallot, 2001, P.394). What this study shows is public relations took a very important role in manage a company. It could help people get what they want.
In current practice, public relations also plays an essential role in society. In 11th December 2005, there was a big bang in Europe. The warehouse of Buncefield oil had explosion. Many people died in this accident. The company solved this problem at the first time. They gave information to media and public. This is a good example in public relations in crisis. What we can see that using public relations in a right way can definitely bring some beneficial to company. Not only big companies but also some small companies can also use public relations to improve performance. As a small company, it seems that they have more aspire to get more profits. Therefore, public relations is a great tool which can be used. It argued that small companies can use plenty of methods to make public relations such as advertising, practicing movements or interviews (Nell C and Huang-Horowitz, 2013, p.345). Consequently, some small companies begin to take a practice. They use public relations to improve fame. It brings them big benefits (Nell C and Huang-Horowitz, 2013, p.350). All these practice are not only beneficial to companies but also society. It proved that there is no illegitimate and unethical form in a democratic society.
Public relations should be developed in a healthy democratic society. Waymer and Damior contained that only in a stable politics and booming economic situation public relations can develop well and make some effects on society. (Waymer and Damior, 2013, p.320-331). For example, at the 16th of March 1997, authors mentioned that an apology was made by President Clinton to people who survived in Tuskegee Institute in Macon County. His apologize was a symbol that the United States government wanted to make a well public relations to commons. He tried to repair the relationship between governments and people although it was not easy because Africa country were not trust the American government anymore. However, he had to keep working with these public relations (Waymer and Damior, 2013, p.320-331). It is clear that President Clinton’s behavior of the public relations can improve the relationship between countries and make the United States a better develop environment. This fact can provide that if public relations be used in a correct way it can brings a great many of benefits. It also pointed that public relations is not illegitimate.
Twitter as a new form of “we the media” is also a great example in using the public relations. For closing the distance between candidates and citizens, many candidates begin to use twitter as a way to show their real life. It seems that twitter could get closer to citizens and strengthen the relationship. A good example given by the author is in 2010, a vote result was taken into a study by the United States House of Representatives. It considered that candidates who use twitter could have more support than candidates who did not use it. Absolutely, as a way of public relations, twitter is successful in politics and can also take benefits for companies (Heather L, 2013, p.360-p.368). For these evidence, it indicated that public relations is not illegal and not immoral. It can be used to make benefits for people if under correct control.
However, public relations is still claimed as a harmful way in communicating with public in a democratic media system. It may agree that every fact should be restored and be shown truly in front of people’s eyes. Public relation is lying to public. It always shows the great side to people instead of the truth. On April 8th, 2014, a Boeing 777 of Malaysian airline which carried 239 people lost contact. The Malaysian Airline Company and Malaysian government did not inform the publics at the first time (Hugo Martín, 2014). This unsuccessful public relations brings some objectionable impact. People are no longer willing to taking Malaysian airplane and do not want to travel to Malaysia. After this accident, the economic of Malaysia have suffered a big waterloo. According to the Los Angeles times reported, comparing the same time as former year, data of travel website had rapidly decreased by 22%. (Hugo Martín, 2014). Situation was even worse in China. As Zhang Hong and Laura Zhou mentioned, a manager at Ctrip.com said that comparing with past years, the rate visit to Malaysia has declined by half (Hong and Zhou, 2014). Most tourists canceled the plan travel to Malaysia. A famous Chinese star Chen Kun, who has 70 million followers on weibo, he started to boycott Malaysia and almost 30,000 people support him (Hong and Zhou, 2014). It believed that this country is unreliable. This is a typical example in unsuccessful public relations. It demonstrated that some people agree public relations are illegal and immoral because it covers some part of the truth and give the wrong information to public.
In 20th century, internet was used in many fields which help people get more information. Earth is no longer a big world without connection, but a small village. To some extend, internet increase the democratic of people. They can choose what they want to know and they have rights to say what they are willing to say. However, new media gives the possibility to governments to control the information (Waymer and Damion, 2013, p.325). When a bad news comes out, governments always control the media at first and announced some comfortable speech. The rich and the power can easily pay money on control the news, it argues unfair to the poor. Therefore, citizens believe under great public relations, governments and commercials have more opportunities to shirk their responsibilities. For these reasons, people might believe that public relations are illegal and immoral.
To avoid illegal and unethical public relations, there should be some advice on how to do well at public relations. It seems that having good public relations should increase the abilities in dealing with accident and have the good abilities in communication with others. Besides, make good use of various media system like television or internet. These can make governments and communities getting closer to society, reassuring people’s mistake of public relations. So that they will no longer think public relations are illegal and immoral (Public Relations Advisor 2015)
In conclusion, sometimes public relation is immoral in some situation. Such as Malaysian airplane lost contact. However, it can work to improve the relationship between public and community and will bring many benefits and effectiveness to our society. It is not always illegal. It confirms that following the development of society, public relations will become more and more important. If public relations can be used in a correct way, it can avoid illegitimate and unethical form. It indicated that public relations could bring many benefits for people. Therefore, it is legal and morality.
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