In the case of establishing the relationship between propaganda and public opinion as well as their prospect and pitfalls, there are some key concepts that need to be defined as follows:
PROPAGANDA: It is derived from a Latin word called (propaganda) which implies to bring about/forth, to get, to proselytize. propaganda can be defined as a conscious and definite inter on the part of persons, governments or pressure groups to influence the formation of attitudes, the expression of opinion and the behavior of the person to whom they address their effort.
PUBLIC OPINION: This can be defined as the aggregate of all individual opinion regarding a particular issue. According to Nwankwo (1990) he opines that public opinion is not just what people think or even what they say in public but rather what in practice they want to bring into effect. Little wondering the middle ages, the Romans though that“thevoice of the people is the voice of God, voice populus voice de”.
However, public opinion could be well informed, mature and rational. It could as well be uniformed, malicious, prejudiced, irrational and biased. However both concept of social science doesn’t have a definite definition. It was defined by many scholars according to their own view.
The relationship between propaganda and public opinion can be drawned from the above definitions of the concepts which entail that both concepts are related to each other as both are means to achieve an end. However, what interest people are what they discuss on and their main aim is to convince others to join them in sharing their view. Which result to an aggregation of individual views which is the perceptions on governmental day to day activities. Furthermore ,the expression of popular will which emanate from public opinion can be made known to government through propaganda and the expression of this popular will by people in a political system occur when they come together to form attitudes which is very important in any political system and derives its legitimacy and responsibility from the people. However, legitimacy and responsibility are rational if they are enlightened which will convince and seek public support which can be achieved through propaganda and is indispensable for influencing government policies.
Prospect of public opinion and propaganda in political governance
Individuals views on certain information and expressed through organized information and expressed through propaganda which in turn influence the government towards making decisions and policies that will be public oriented. Furthermore, public opinion and propaganda encourages participation that is when the people expresses their views on any issue which the government in turn sieve the good from the bad. This also cause societal change as it force government to retreat policies that are not favorably to the people. Public opinion and propaganda ensures stability in government and encourage accountability .The people will willingly subject themselves to the government of the day through public opinion and the government is able to know the peoples demands ,needs through propaganda. As species and tool of socialization and mobilization opportunities for propaganda abound in most political system. Social conflicts are numerous due to the perpetually unstable values and polices of modern society and these conflicts are sown and piloted by effective propaganda: Their resolution or settlement are equal achieved through propaganda. To mobilize and educate the masses.
PITFALLS OF PUBLIC OPINION AND PROPAGANDA IN POLITICAL GOVERNANCE
When public opinion and propaganda are wrongly used, it can be exploited by the influential individuals in the country through political opposition which often give distorted picture of the government in power. Also it is sometimes not reliable for government to rely on simply because some influential individual in the society may use it as a medium to actualize their selfish goals. Most times people are forcefully convinced to go against their wills. They ought to positively support them. The propagandist sometimes presents only those sides of his goals which will enable response related to the goal he seeks. He may even fabricate pseudo facts.