This Week in PR Ethics (8/25/22): Fake videos, cultural appropriation, and disclosure

I am going to have so many examples to discuss with my students when we go back to class in two weeks. This week in public relations ethics it was everything from disclosure to fake videos, and cultural appropriation.


  • Repressive countries and disclosure – This is a variation on the stories from last week, but it looks at the need to disclose when engaged in lobbying for a foreign government or company. This article discusses how a major PR agency avoided the issue.


  • Power of fake videos – In India over the past few weeks fake videos have caused quite a stir when a video was shared showing how smartwatches can be used to trigger the equivalent of Fastlane/EZpass transponders and transfer money from the driver’s account to the smartwatch. It can’t, but it still caused quite a stir.


  • Cultural appropriation – While I am in the region, another case of fraudulent marketing and cultural appropriation has a Chinese retailer apologizing for marketing itself as a Japanese brand


  • Whistleblowers – Twitter was rocked this week by disclosures from a whistleblower about security lapses. For communicators, the key takeaway is to make sure you take all rumors and allegations seriously and look into them.


  • Disclosure and Transparency from the media side – This was an interesting article that hits on one of the popular discussions in my class around ethics. When does setting ground rules and guard rails cross the line into being unethical?  This article looks at it from the business media’s perspective.
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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