Under the Microscope: A New Regulatory Age Requires Increased Transparency

It was his first full day on the job and already President Obama was making quite an impression. In the first of what will surely be many sweeping policy changes, he swiftly set firm limitations for business and government alike, demanding more disclosure, not to mention something communications professionals know all too well: transparency.

Indeed, in what he called "a clean break from business as usual," Obama set a new tone for leadership.

"For a long time now, there's been too much secrecy in this city," he said, referring to the nation's capital. "Transparency and rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

This nod to the value of transparent communications will usher in a new era for business, which, after a period defined by greed and scandal, has been crippled by its own bad behavior. Now comes increased regulation, sharper oversight and tighter controls--all of which will (in theory) force companies to be more accountable for their actions. But this transition will be riddled with land mines, and PR professionals should expect to assume responsibility for facilitating transparent communications in this new regulatory environment.

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