The UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has today published a guide advising PR professionals on how to approach Wikipedia. The primary principle is that PR people should not directly edit Wikipedia pages that relate to their organisation or clients. Instead they should use the network to suggest amendments to Wikipedians – the active Wikipedia editors.
A consultation hosted on Wikimedia UK received more than 160 direct edits. The guidance document published by the CIPR today is version one – it will continue to be reviewed as the relationship between Wikipedia and the PR communities evolves. The guidance is supported by the Canadian Public Relations Society, the Public Relations Consultants Association and the Public Relations Institute of Australia.
CIPR CEO Jane Wilson, said: “This guidance is aimed at helping public relations practitioners reach a better understanding of how to properly engage with one of the most visited sources of information on the internet and clearly lays out the process through which PR people can positively contribute to the encyclopaedia. The main theme of the guidance is quite simple – where there is a clear conflict of interest created by the relationship between the public relations professional and the subject of the Wikipedia entry, such as a client or employer, they should not directly edit it.”
Chief Executive of Wikimedia UK Jon Davies, said: “I’m pleased that the PR industry is taking steps to learn more about Wikipedia and how it works.”
This clear guidance coming directly from the industry should reduce the areas of grey surrounding the editing of pages by some well established PR firms.
You can download the guide here.