Dirty Practices Plague Media

Advertising is increasingly appearing under the guise of editorial coverage according to a recently-released study from the International Public Relations Association. "Cash
for editorial" is rampant in some areas of the world, especially Southern and Eastern Europe, according to the report. PR practitioners were asked if media in their countries
accept bribes to run - or not to run - specific stories. Sixty five percent of North Americans agree that policies prohibiting the acceptance of a bribe for coverage are usually
or always followed. But in areas like Eastern Europe, 63 percent of PR practitioners believe the practice is common. Likewise, when asked whether reporters accept bribes to avoid
covering certain issues, 97.5 percent of American PR pros said U.S. journalists would rarely or never do so. But in Eastern Europe and Central and South America, 17 percent of
respondents say it happens often or all the time. IPRA has launched a Campaign for Media Transparency which will include a biennial index of bribery in the media, developed by the
Institute for Public Relations. IPRA will also encourage media organizations to sign the IPRA Charter on Media Transparency. (Frank Ovaitt, 703/883-2535)