Nothing simple about the truth

Back in February, PRWeek's ethics debate in London saw a slim majority of delegates favour Max Clifford's claim that lying is sometimes necessary.

Now it appears that the French are even less convinced of the idea that PR has a duty to tell the truth than the Brits are.

'Round two' took place at the University of Sorbonne, with PR lecturer Trevor Morris arguing that PR does not have a duty to tell the truth. We're told that he won by a handsome majority.

'The students very much bought in to the argument that PR is necessarily partial and that it will always advocate a particular point of view or interpretation of the truth,' Morris tells us.

Meanwhile, Jean-Pierre Beaudoin, visiting professor at the Sorbonne, abstained from voting, claiming that the French view is that PR should 'respect' the truth.

'I love it,' says Morris. 'It is the sort of statement that no one can disagree with but commits you to very little. As Oscar Wilde argued: "The truth is rarely pure and never simple".'

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