What ethics for governmental communication? Ethical issues on government public relations / Que ética para a comunicação governamental? Questões éticas nas relações públicas governamentais


  • Gisela Goncalves Universidade da Beira Interior
  • José Manuel Santos Universidade da Beira Interior



Palabras clave:

governmental communication, virtue ethics, utilitarianism, deontological ethics, Portugal


As government is both a public and a political organization the goal of communication can thus be complex. Government communication balances between political marketing and the noble aim of government public relations – inform citizens and promote bidirectional communication. The aim of this article is to discuss the evaluation criteria of political communication, both theoretically and applied, based on the ethics of virtues. Instead of focusing the ethical analysis on the consequences of action (utilitarianism), or on a list of duties (deontological ethics), it is argued that the true foundation of moral life and ethical-political coherence lies in the character of the agent, be it the politician or the public relations professional.



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Biografía del autor/a

Gisela Goncalves, Universidade da Beira Interior

Gisela Gonçalves is professor of communication studies and Head of the Department of Communication and Arts at the University of Beira Interior (UBI, Covilhã, Portugal). She develops her research activity at LabCom.IFP – a Communication, Philosophy and Humanities research centre. Her current research interests are government communication, communication ethics, and political public relations theories. Recently, she edited the volume Politics and Web 2.0: The Participation Gap (VernonPress 2017) and published in the collective book “International Public Relations: Perspectives from deeply divided societies” (Routledge, 2017). In 2016 she was elected Vice-Chair of the ‘Organizational and Strategic Communication’ section of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA).

José Manuel Santos, Universidade da Beira Interior

PhD in Philosophy, Director of Doctoral Studies in Philosophy at the University of Beira Interior (Portugal). Associate professor in applied ethics.


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Cómo citar

Goncalves, G., & Santos, J. M. (2017). What ethics for governmental communication? Ethical issues on government public relations / Que ética para a comunicação governamental? Questões éticas nas relações públicas governamentais. Revista Internacional De Relaciones Públicas, 7(14), 165–182. https://doi.org/10.5783/revrrpp.v7i14.493