[W]here 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.
—Jane Wilson, CIPR CEO
After the Bell Pottinger incident, CIPR and WMUK began a collaboration to draft 'best practice guidelines' for public relations professionals' relationship with Wikipedia's articles. The CIPR guidelines demonstrate the fruits of this, as the document has much in common with Wikipedia's own conflict of interest guidelines and was developed on the Wikimedia UK wiki. Among its most notable provisions is the highly visible and repeated stipulation that public relations professionals should not directly edit articles they have a conflict of interest with except in extremely limited circumstances, along with its recommendation to "operate within the system" and a step-by-step guide to addressing problems in a topic they are being paid to correct.
Statements from the association also reflect the Wikipedia guideline's influence: "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. Such an activity would be unethical and lacking in transparency and therefore potentially against CIPR’s own guidance on digital communication and social media" (CEO Jane Wilson). The Wikimedia Foundation, through its head of communications Jay Walsh, also reacted positively, saying "CIPR's basic message, ... that PR folks editing Wikipedia directly is problematic, echoes what we hear from the community of Wikipedia contributors. Those who come to Wikipedia with a clear conflict of interest are generally going to face real challenges in terms of editing and contributing to the project."
Australian political scandal moves on-wiki: Despite the Health Services Union expenses affair's diminishing popularity in the "real world", the Sydney Morning Herald has reported on edit wars revolving around the articles relating to the scandal. After the article was published, one Wikipedia editor commented that they had "one good thing [to say about that Fairfax article. It seems to have silenced those Wikipedia editors it suggested may have conflicts of interest.]"
The Signpost is written by editors like you — join in!