New bribery laws that could affect PRs offering hospitality to the media

New bribery laws that could affect PRs offering hospitality to the media

Claire Walker

Claire Walker

Interesting reading in today’s FT on new bribery legislation that could affect the corporate hospitality industry and have a knock-on effect for the PR industry.

The implications are less about offering an afternoon out at a premiership game or indulgences at Ascot, but  more about ‘grand hospitality’ events that could come under scrutiny – especially trips abroad.

We’ve flown journalists all over the world to visit client HQs or attend events, conferences and shows – perhaps with a sporting or arts event thrown in for entertainment. Of course, there is never a guarantee that any media on a trip will write about the client who has funded it, but there is an expectation that the media should consider writing about the paying client, especially if an interesting and relevant angle is revealed.

We need to be mindful of the new legislation so we don’t fall foul, but the guidance is not available yet.

Those PRCA agencies with a desire to get their thoughts in order should also heed point 2.7 of the PRCA Code of Conduct:

“Neither propose nor undertake any action which would constitute an improper influence on organs of government, or on legislation, or on the media of communication.”

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Discussion

  1. Where does that leave media that demand or strongly hint at coverage for advertising?

    1. Thanks for your comment Will. I’d suggest you leave those types of media out in the cold. I used to work in publishing and there really was a VERY BIG DIVIDE between advertising and editorial which is how it should be – editorial integrity. There some blurry lines with old tactics like advertorial, and newer trends like PRentertainment and Advertainment – but really editorial content, if positioned as independent and unbiased, should be just that.

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