Last Friday afternoon, I published a post here titled “‘Alternative Facts’ and IABC’s Six Core Principles,” detailing our association’s position on something that has been a point of conversation and reflection in our IABC community in recent weeks. We also posted a petition on Change.org, asking professionals to stand with us in support of the ethical practice of professional communication.
Given the discussion I’ve seen around terms like “alternative facts” and “fake news” within our community, I expected I might get some reaction to my post. But to say I’ve been overwhelmed by the engagement and response would be an understatement.
As I write this, more than 600 people have signed the re-commitment to ethics on Change.org and I’ve heard incredible feedback from countless IABC members and other communication professionals. My fellow IABC executive board members have received emails and phone calls as well, and social media has been filled with insightful discussions as IABC members signed and shared the petition.
The response has been almost entirely positive, with many members saying how glad they are to see IABC taking a stand on this issue, and how proud they are to be a part of it and stand together.
Here’s a small sampling of what we’ve heard on Twitter:
— J. Randall Brown (@BrownJRandall) February 10, 2017
Proud to be part of an organization taking a stand for ethical professional communications. Show your commitment at https://t.co/GqMzSo3glc
— Wendy (@weliaslo) February 10, 2017
— Jeanette LeBlanc (@jileblanc) February 9, 2017
— Jonathan Champ (@meaningbusiness) February 4, 2017
And from the petition:
Those are just a few examples of the types of feedback we’ve received. For even more, I encourage you to browse the IABC Twitter timeline, where we’ve shared many of the supportive tweets so many people have sent our way.
Thank you for your support and dedication to ethical practice in communication. It’s inspiring to see your level of commitment and engagement around this critical issue for our profession. I look forward to continuing the dialogue and building on this momentum with all of you!
All the best,
P.S. As always, if you are not an IABC member, I invite you to join our thriving IABC community to be a part of the learning, development, connection, and discussions we all hold dear as members.
One of the many wonderful things about IABC having 10,000 members spread out around the globe is that our organization has its finger on the pulse of so much happening around the world and what it means to all of us working in business communication. This has been especially clear as the start of 2017 has brought with it big changes, new terms and challenges related to the work we all do.
A phrase we’ve heard frequently in recent weeks is “alternative facts,” as a term for inaccurate information, and many people have reached out asking where IABC’s stands on this issue. Our answer as an organization is clear.
The IABC Global Standard of the Communication Profession outlines six core principles that serve communication professionals around the world as building blocks of their work. Applying that standard enables us to communicate across borders, align with diverse cultures and effectively serve organizations of myriad types and sizes. The first principle of the IABC Global Standard is Ethics. Among other tenets, this principle sets forth that to act ethically, professional communicators must act without deception; represent their organizations truthfully, fairly and accurately; and adhere to the IABC Code of Ethics.
The International Association of Business Communicators and our members stand strongly behind our Code of Ethics, which states:
“As a professional communicator, you have the potential to influence economies and affect lives. This power carries with it significant responsibilities.
The International Association of Business Communicators requires its members to agree to the IABC Code of Ethics. This code serves as a guide to making consistent, responsible, ethical and legal choices in all of our communications.”
The first two commitments in the IABC Code of Ethics state, “I am honest—my actions bring respect for and trust in the communication profession” and “I communicate accurate information and promptly correct any error.”
IABC is unwavering in our commitment to and advocacy for our Global Standard and Code of Ethics. “Alternative facts” have no place in professional communication. I’m certain this was never in doubt for all of you as members. But should someone ask you for IABC’s stance on this issue, I invite you to point them to this blog post and our Global Standard.
I look forward to further discussion about this topic when I see many of you later this month at our annual Leadership Institute in Dallas, Texas.
This June, I’ll gather with even more of you at the 2017 IABC World Conference in Washington, D.C., where the latest issues and ideas affecting our profession and our work will be in the spotlight. I have no doubt that IABC and our committed members from around the world will shine, just as you do every day.
We’ve posted a petition on Change.org to publicly stand in support of the IABC Code of Ethics and what it means to live it every day. Please join us in signing it to show your commitment to ethical communication at all levels—you don’t need to be a member of IABC to stand with us. Please share the link with colleagues around the world to show our solidarity on this key principle.
On behalf of the entire executive board and leadership of IABC, thank you for your continued passion and ongoing commitment to ethical practice. It is tremendously appreciated and critical to the work we all do as professional business communicators.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
All the best,