Professionals in Nigeria belong not only to some international professional bodies optionally, they also belong compulsorily to the local professional body known as the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), one of the few in the world backed by a state statutory instrument in Decree 16 of 1990. The institute’s codes of practice has 12 articles which include the following:


Every member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations shall:


a. respect the moral principles of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and the freedoms entrenched in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the performance of his/her own duties;


b. recognise that each person has the right to reach his own judgement by himself;


c. respect the right of parties in a dispute to explain their respective points of view;


d. encourage the free circulation of public information and preserve the integrity of channels of communication;


e. put trust and honesty of purpose before all other considerations;


f. safeguard the confidences of his present/previous employers or clients;


g. represent interests which are not in conflict;


h. refuse to enter into any agreement which requires the attainment of certain results before the payment of professional fees;


i. protect the professional reputation or practice of another member, but make it his duty to report unethical behaviour on the part of any member of the institute;


j. not seek to displace any other member with his employer or client, except with the mutual agreement of all the parties concerned;


k. Not operate any front organisation;


l. Co-operate with any other members in upholding and enforcing this code.


These articles are a superb adaptation of some international codes and the British codes of ethics to suit the Nigerian institution. The extra-ordinary general meeting of the institute held at the Bristol Hotel in Lagos on January 30, 1981 approved the Nigerian codes.










The following Code of Conduct was adopted by the International Public Relations Association at its general assembly in Venice, May 1961 and is binding on all members of the association.


IPRA code of professional conduct


A. Personal and Professional Integrity

1. It is understood that, by personal integrity is meant the maintenance of both high moral standards and a sound reputation. By professional integrity is meant observance of the constitution, rules, and particularly, the Code as adopted by IPRA.


B. Conduct towards Clients and Employers.

1. A member has a general duty of fair dealing towards his clients or employers, past and present.

2. A member shall not represent conflicting or competing interests without the express consent of those concerned.

3. A member shall safeguard the confidence of both present and former clients or employers.

4. A member shall not employ methods tending to be derogatory of another member’s client or employer.

5. In performing services for a client or employer, a member shall not accept fees, commissions or any other valuable consideration in connection with those services from anyone other than his client or employer without the express consent of his client or employer, given after a full disclosure of the facts.

6. A member shall not propose to a prospective client or employer that his fee or other compensation be contingent on the achievement of certain results; nor shall he enter into any agreement to the same effect.


C. Conduct towards the Public and the Media.

1. A member shall conduct his professional activities in accordance with the public interest, and with full respect for the dignity of the individual.

2. A member shall not engage in any practice which tends to corrupt the integrity of channels of public communication.

3. A member shall not intentionally disseminate false or misleading information.

4. A member shall, at all times, seek to give a balanced and faithful representation of the organisation to serve some announced cause, but actually to serve an undisclosed special or private interest of a member or his client or his employer, nor shall he make use of it or any such existing organisation.


D. Conduct towards colleagues.

1. A member shall not intentionally injure the professional reputation or practice of another member. However, if a member has evidence that another member has been guilty of unethical, illegal or unfair practices in violation of this Code, he shall present the information to the Council of IPRA.

2. A member shall not seek to supplant another member with his employer or client.

3. A member shall cooperate with fellow members in upholding and enforcing this Code.



IPRA members are also required to abide by the code of ethics, known as the Code of Athens as the IPRA General Assembly adopted it in Athens in May 1965. It was modified slightly in Tehran in April 1968. (The Code of Athens was also adopted by CERP in 1965).

This Code obliges every IPRA member to observe a strict moral code.

Each member shall endeavour:

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’.

2. To establish communications patterns and channels which, foster the free flow of essential information, which make each member in the society in which he lives feel that he is being kept informed, and also gives him an awareness of his own personal involvement and responsibility, and of his solidarity with other members.

3. 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.

4. To respect, in the course of his professional duties, the moral principles and the rule of the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’

5. To pay due regards to, and uphold, human dignity, and to recognise the right of each individual to judge for himself.

6. To encourage the moral, psychological and intellectual conditions for dialogue in its true sense, and to recognise the right of these parties involved to state their case and express their views.


Shall undertake:

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. To carry out his duties with integrity, avoiding language likely to lead to ambiguity or misunderstanding and to maintain loyalty to his clients or employers, whether past or present.


Shall refrain from

10. Subordinating the truth to other requirements.

11. Circulating information which is not based on established and ascertainable facts.

12. Taking part in any venture or undertaking which is unethical or dishonest or capable of impairing human dignity and integrity.

13. 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.


Most national public relations associations have adopted codes of professional conduct which must be observed by their members. The Code of Professional Conduct of the Institute of Public Relations, which was adopted on 31 December 1963, is typical of these codes.        















This statement presents the core values of PRSA members and, more broadly, of the public relations profession. These values provide the foundation for the Member Code of Ethics and set the standard for the professional practice of public relations. These values are fundamental beliefs that guide our behaviours and decision-making process. We believe our professional values are vital to the integrity of the profession as a whole.



We serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for those we represent.

We provide a voice in the marketplace of ideas, facts, and view points to aid informed public debate.



We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interest of those we represent and in communicating with the public.



We acquire and responsibly use specialised knowledge and experience.

We advance the profession through continued professional development, research, and education.

We build mutual understanding, credibility, and relationships among a wide array of institutions and audiences.





We provide objective counsel to those we represent.

We are accountable for our actions.



We are faithful to those we represent, while honouring our obligation to serve the public interest.



We deal fairly with clients, employers, competitors, peers, vendors, the media, and the general public.

We respect all opinions and support the right of free expression.

Act promptly to correct erroneous communications for which the practitioner is responsible.

Investigate the truthfulness and accuracy of information released on those represented.

Reveal the sponsors for causes and interests represented.

Disclose financial interest (such as stock ownership) in a client’s organisation.

Avoid deceptive practices.

Safeguarding Confidences

Safeguard the confidences and privacy rights of present, former, and prospective clients and employees.

Protect privileged, confidential, or insider information gained from a client or organisation.

Immediately advise an appropriate authority if a member discovers that confidential information is being divulged by an employee of a client company or organisation.




Conflicts of Interests

Act in the best interest of the client or employer, even subordinating the member’s personal interests.

Avoid actions and circumstances that may appear to compromise good business judgement or create a conflict between personal and professional interests.

Disclose promptly any existing or potential conflict of interest to affected clients or organisatons.

Encourage clients and customers to determine if a conflict exists after notifying all affected parties.

Enhancing the profession

Acknowledge that there is an obligation to protect and enhance the profession.

Keep informed and educated about practices in the profession to ensure ethical conduct.

Actively pursue personal professional development.

Decline representation of clients or organisations that urge or require actions contrary to this Code.

Accurately define what public relations activities can accomplish.

Counsel subordinates in proper ethical decision-making.

Require that subordinates adhere to the ethical requirements of the Code.

Report ethical violations, whether committed by PRSA members or not, to the appropriate authority.   


The IPR Code of professional practice was reviewed in 1985 and revisions adopted by special resolution at the Institute’s annual general meeting on 9th April 1986.


1. Standard of professional conduct. A member shall have a positive duty to observe the highest standards in the practice of public relations. Furthermore a member has the personal responsibility at all times to deal fairly and honestly with his client, employees, past or present, with fellow members, with the media of communication and above all else with the public.


2. Media communication. A member shall not engage in any practice which tends to corrupt the integrity of the media of communication.


3. Undisclosed interest. A member shall have the duty to ensure that the actual interest in any organisation with which he may be professionally concerned is adequately declared.


4. Rewards to holders of public office. A member shall not, with intend to further his interest (or those of his client or employer), offer to give any rewards to a person holding public office if such action is consistent with the public interest.


5. Dissemination of information. A member shall have a positive duty at all times to respect the truth and in this regard not to disseminate false or misleading information knowingly or recklessly and to use proper care to avoid doing so inadvertently.


6. Confidential information. A member shall not disclose (except upon the order of a court of competent jurisdiction) or make use of information given or obtained in confidence from his employer or client, past or present, for the personal gain or otherwise. 




7. Conflict of interest. A member shall not present conflicting interest but may represent competing interest with the express consent of the parties concerned.


8. Disclosure of beneficial financial interest. A member with a beneficial financial interest in or from an organisation shall not recommend the use of that organization, nor make use of its services on behalf of his client or employer, without declaring his interest.


9. Payment contingent upon achievements. A member shall not negotiate or agree terms with a prospective employer or client on the basis of payment contingent upon specific future public relations achievements. 


10. Employment of holders of public office. A member who employs or is responsible for employing or recruiting a member of either House of Parliament, a member of the European Parliament or a person elected to public office, whether in a consultative or executive capacity, shall disclose this fact, also the object and nature of the employment to the Executive Director of the Institute who shall enter it in a register kept for these categories shall be directly responsible for disclosing or causing to be disclosed to the Executive Director the  same information as may relate to himself. (The register referred to in this clause shall be open to public inspection at the office of the Institute during office hours).


11. Injury to other members. A member shall not maliciously injure the professional reputation of another member.


12. Reputation of the profession. A member shall not conduct himself in a manner which is or is likely to be detrimental to the reputation of the Institute or the profession of public relations.


13. Upholding the code. A member shall uphold this code, shall cooperate with fellow members in so doing and in enforcing decisions on any matter arising from its application. If a member has a reason to believe that another member has been engaged in practices which may be in breach of this code, it shall be his duty to inform the member concerned and then to inform the Institute if these practice do not cease. It is the duty of all members to assist the Institute to implement this Code, and the Institute will support any member so doing.


14. Other professions. A member shall, when working in association with other professionals, respect the code of other professions and shall not knowingly be party to any breach of such codes.


15. Professional updating. A member shall be expected to be aware of, understand and observe this Code, any amendments to it and any other codes which shall be incorporated into this Code and to remain up-to-date with the content and recommendations of any guidance or practice papers as may be issued by the Institute and shall have a duty to take all reasonable steps to conform to good practice as expressed in such guidance or practice papers.


16. Instruction of others. A member shall not knowingly cause or permit another person or organisation to act in manner inconsistent with this code or be a party to such action. 

















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The author acknowledges the contributions of the following who through tutorials, discussions and reviews enhanced the editorial and professional output of the book.


*Adedayo Festus, Columnist, Nigerian Tribune Newspaper

*Ali, Alhaji Bashir, Head of Mass-Communications Department, Bayero University, Kano

*Bala Muhammad, Office of the Vice President, Federal republic of Nigeria

*Camilus Eboh, Former Abuja Bureau chief, Guardian Newspaper

*Carol Friends, Past President IPR, London

*Clive Turner, former General Manager, Public Affairs Texaco UK

*Christopher Joll, Deputy Chairman, GCI Financial

*Di Burton, International School of Public Relations, London

*Effik, Mr. Victor, Former Member Editorial Board, Today Newspapers and Abuja Newsday

*Haruna Penni, Register Association of Nigerian Author (ANA) Abuja Chapter

*Ian Wright, President Institute of Public Relations, London

*Jimoh Ibrahim, Executive secretary African Centre of Policy Studies

*Michael Blend, International School of Public Relations, London

*Muhammad, Alhaji Sabo, Former President Nigerian Institute of Public relations NIPR

*Okereke, Mr. Mike, President, Federation of African Public Relations Association and Chairman BEEC

*Oyetubo, Mr. Fatai, Lecturer, Economic Department, University of Abuja

*Pastor Tope Banson, former Abuja Bureau Chief, Sketch Newspaper

*Peter Walker, Executive Chairman, PIELLE Consulting

*Professor Geff Lancaster of University of Lincolnshire and Humberside.

* Usman Kawuyo and Etukudo who served with me as corps members