INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Video kills publicity star; ex-Tory PR headblasted

LONDON: The president of the UK's Institute of Public Relations has

called for a code of conduct to be enforced among the political PR

profession after it was revealed that a top-level conservative (Tory)

party advisor kept a video diary during the recent general election

campaign.



Amanda Platell quit her job as head of news and media for the Tory party

after admitting that she had recorded her observations for posterity

during a tough election year. The conservatives, at that time led by

William Hague, lost the election by a landslide on June 7.



The video was broadcast on the UK's Channel 4 as the Tories geared up to

choose a party leader to succeed Hague, and damaging revelations about

front-runner Michael Portillo have led to his defeat.



"This case shows the urgent need for a code of practice for

communicators working alongside and on behalf of politicians," said IPR

president Ian Wright in a statement.



Wright said that the Government Information and Communication Service, a

network of specialist press officers working with different government

departments, already has a code of conduct in place for politicians in

office. "There is no reason why this code should not be extended to

political advisors in government and senior advisors in the main

opposition parties," Wright continued.



Wright went on to say that the Platell incident had damaged the

reputation of the PR industry in the UK. "Transparency and honesty are

key."



Platell was appointed in April 1999, and was formerly the editor of the

Sunday Express.



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