This comes after the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, announced yesterday that it had blocked 381 accounts for so-called 'black hat' editing on the English-language Wikipedia.
Only a few of the accounts uncovered in the two-month investigation had made disclosures that they were engaging in paid editing, and those which did failed to make complete disclosures, according to an announcement from Wikipedia itself.
Although it is not clear whether PR firms were involved in any of the banned accounts, the CIPR's PR and policy manager Andy Ross said it provided a timely reminder that PRs should act "in an open and transparent manner" in any Wikipedia activity - as outlined by the CIPR's guidance 'Wikipedia and PR'.
Ross said: "Public relations professionals acting on behalf of an employer or client are paid-for advocates and have a clear conflict of interest. There’s absolutely zero to gain in subverting the rules, with such actions not only detrimental to the site itself, but also to the organisations and individuals involved."
He went on to say: "Public relations without transparency is unprofessional, and a direct contravention of the CIPR’s own ethical code."
PRs and Wikipedia have enjoyed a sometimes fraught relationship - Wikimedia threatened legal action against a PR company over paid editing in 2013, prompting first the ire of the then CIPR president-elect, and then in 2014 the creation of a compliance framework designed to "cultivate a more collaborative relationship between the industry and the Wikimedia Foundation", as PRWeek reported last year.