“It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and myths that surround it.”
Defining propaganda has always been a problem. The main difficulties have involved differentiating propaganda from other types of persuasion, and avoiding an “if they do it then that’s propaganda, while if we do it then that’s information and education” biased approach. Personally I prefer the following definition provided by Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell: “Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.”
What is modern propaganda? For many, it is the lies of a totalitarian state usually associated with Nazis and Communism.
Today, we prefer to believe that there is no submissive void in our society that could be manipulated by propaganda. Is that really so?
Propaganda does not always come in a form of posters or slogans. As history shows, selection of certain story angles and facts for the mass media distribution is a much more effective away of manipulating public perception while maintaining the illusions of personal freedom and choice. The media’s truly the most powerful entity on earth when it comes to propaganda. Internet can facilitate the spread of facts and real life photos misrepresented in line with a certain agenda and supported by false generalisations such as “we are all good, they are all bad” etc.
What can we do to counteract propaganda in our societies? Not all people can write anti-propaganda articles and make films like John Pilger. However we all can:
- learn to critically evaluate everything we see and hear
- teach our children to question everything and think critically
- challenge our own beliefs and biases that we were brought up with
- open our minds to new perspectives and points of view.
- make friends with people from different cultural backgrounds to learn more about their lives and beliefs
- engage in discussions with people from different cultural backgrounds to build relationships, improve understanding and dispell any existing myths and propaganda.
- read and learn more about other cultures and other people.
I’m very grateful to all people the blogosphere who helped me to learn more about their cultures and beliefs and dispelled some of the myths I was brought up with. We are the world, we are the people, we are one great family. It is time to realise that a change can only come when we stand together as one.
- The new propaganda is liberal. The new slavery is digital.
- Defining propaganda
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- The illiterate of the 21st century…