Codes of ethics for political parties and their role in communication (in the time of electoral campaigns)

Nicolai GORI


In elections, a multitude of players are involved, and there are winners and losers. Because the stakes are high, there is a great temptation to use unethical practices to gain more votes. Parties from different countries start to understand the importance of their ethical behaviour for winning voters’ trust by reason of the fact they apply ethics in their programs. In this sense, parties are developing Ethical Codes, Ethical Commissions, and Ethical Committees. Some of the questions we tried to get an answer are the following: Are codes of ethics for political parties necessary? Are these more related to political ethics or political communication? Are the aims directed to make a more ethical campaign, or to gain more votes? Does a code of ethics for political parties have a role in the communication of political parties’ values and does it help to show if a political party respects their promises? The purpose of this article is to observe if a tension between political marketing, as part of political communication, and political ethics theories exists when parties create and use a code of ethics. Also, we aim to understand the relationship between ethics and communication during electoral campaigns, and if these codes of ethics are a way of communication between political parties and their members, their voters, and other interested actors. One of our hypothesis is that the Codes of ethics in electoral campaign help political organizations to better communicate with different stakeholders and gain more votes. The second hypothesis is that the Codes of Ethics, used as a communication method, influence parties to have an ethical campaign. The third one is that the Codes of Ethics used in electoral campaigns by political parties, guide these actors to better communicate their message, their mission, vision and their goals.


ethics; political ethics; code of ethics; political parties; political communication

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