The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and PR industry bodies have given their support to a new charter to prevent "media spamming" by PR and communications agencies.

The Media Spamming Charter has been launched by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) and the Investors Relations Society in response to the Inconvenient PR Truth campaign started in February by a cross-industry group of PR professionals.

The journalism union has given its backing to the initiative, which provides a guidance for PR professionals when dealing with the media with the aim of reducing poorly-targeted and inappropriate press release distribution, emails and phonecalls.

"These best practice guidelines are designed as a point of reference for practitioners who work with journalists and bloggers. This document is a statement of best practice and not an addition to existing Codes of Conduct or membership rules and regulations," says the charter.

The guidance includes advise on research and planning, reputation and relevance of communications with journalists and bloggers. Individual points include:
  • "Practitioners should not 'guarantee' coverage unless it is contributed in nature or agreed by the publication for a particular purpose, but even then other editorial circumstances may dictate that the coverage does not appear;"
  • "Practitioners and their colleagues should be aware of the potential negative consequences of media spamming and the impact it may have on the results of a communications plan;"
  • "Ensure information distributed to journalists and bloggers is targeted as much as possible, timely and relevant and in a format that is accessible and suited to their needs."

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