This Week in PR Ethics (3/24/22): Deepfakes, Drugs, and Dilbert

How big a threat are deepfakes? What drugs are OK to send to Russia? Do ethics matter to employees? What is ethical lobbying?  This week there were some great stories – and a funny Dilbert cartoon on ethics.

  • Deepfakes in war – Deepfakes are going to be one of the most significant disinformation challenges for society and business in the coming decade. This was clearly demonstrated by a deepfake of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urging troops to surrender.  A great discussion topic is where do you draw the line in business and is there a line in international relations and war?
  • Healthcare, Russia and Ethics – The Financial Times had a great story last Friday on the ethical tightrope Western drugmakers are walking when it comes to Russian ties. What type of medicines make the cut? Do they cut off their Russian manufacturing subsidiaries?

  • What is Ethical Lobbying? – As part of Global Alliance Ethics Month, Päivi Shivola, Chair of the Council of Ethics for Communication in Finland talks with Tuomo Yli-Huttula, Chair of the Lobbying network in Finland, Director for Communications and Public Relations at Finance Finland about how lobbying can serve democracy by sharing their experience in Finland.

  • Do ethics matter to employees? – This week there was an interesting tweet from Hattusia that reported more than 1 in 3 employees left their job because they disagreed with a company’s ethical standards. They reference a study, but I couldn’t find it with a quick search, so take this with a grain of salt – but it does show management another reason why ethics matter.

  • What happens when an industry doesn’t have a code of ethics? Dilbert last week poked fun at companies that take advantage of a lack of an industry code of ethics. Now, this is a cartoon, and most companies don’t do this – but it does make me glad we have the PRSA Code of Ethics, PRCA Code, Arthur Page Principles and more.


Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA
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Mark W. McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the general manager of C+C's Boston office. C+C is a communications agency all about the good and purpose-driven brands. He has more than 20 years of tech and fintech agency experience, served as the 2016 National Chair of PRSA, drove the creation of the PRSA Ethics App and is the host of


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