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Is the communication used in public relations persuasive or propagandist

This is a view also advocated by some communication scholars who equate these two terms. Although there are a number of parallels between public relations and propaganda, there are also fundamental differences. The definitions of public relations are so numerous that it is difficult to give one which would find universal consent.

For this paper and in order to illustrate the difference to propaganda most efficiently a definition, which stresses the importance of mutual understanding between the organisation and the public, as well as the benefaction to both, will be used. Most importantly, both are not a result of a chain of incidental actions and reactions but are rather deliberate, well organised and planned in advance. This is an interesting claim and leads to examining the following fundamental differences between propaganda and public relations.

  • For this paper and in order to illustrate the difference to propaganda most efficiently a definition, which stresses the importance of mutual understanding between the organisation and the public, as well as the benefaction to both, will be used;
  • Due to the existing two-way communication process in public relations it was soon noticed that this tactic was not very successful at convincing the target audience, namely smokers aged 18-40, to give up their habits;
  • Friedenberg, Political Campaign Communication;
  • Due to the existing two-way communication process in public relations it was soon noticed that this tactic was not very successful at convincing the target audience, namely smokers aged 18-40, to give up their habits.

Public relations, on the other hand, is a two-way communication process the goal of which is to be mutually beneficial to both the organisation sender and its publics receiver.

One of the most notorious areas regarding the controversy of the differences between the two terms is the public relations of governments. The course of history has tainted the area of government public relations to a degree at which any information coming from this source is automatically perceived and described as propaganda by sceptics.

  • Trent and Robert V;
  • Firstly, it supports the political objectives of the government, namely to be seen as a responsible administration encouraging a healthy life style and supporting people by giving them the means to do so, as well as protecting the health of non-smokers.

In addition it will use these examples to highlight the important differences between public relations and propaganda. In a research project conducted in 1999, a dramatic rise in the advertising budget of the British government under Tony Blair was discovered.

The first case study to be examined is one of governmental public relations. In Australia one of the currently most well-known public relations campaigns is the National Tobacco Campaign run by the Commonwealth Government. Due to the existing two-way communication process in public relations it was soon noticed that this tactic was not very successful at convincing the target audience, namely smokers aged 18-40, to give up their habits.

  1. This means the governmental costs for health care and hospitals will go down.
  2. There exists, however, considerable confusion and conceptual limitations across these fields. Most importantly, both are not a result of a chain of incidental actions and reactions but are rather deliberate, well organised and planned in advance.
  3. In Australia one of the currently most well-known public relations campaigns is the National Tobacco Campaign run by the Commonwealth Government.
  4. A new conceptual framework for research on public relations, propaganda and promotional culture Bakir, V. In addition it will use these examples to highlight the important differences between public relations and propaganda.

Consequently, the Commonwealth government adapted to this response by the public and decided to change the campaign. The Quit Now campaign started using graphical images of the damage smoking does to, for example, the brain, lungs, heart and arteries.

This use of images to shape perceptions is also a tool used by propagandists. However, in accordance with political public relations guidelines as set out in the Australian Government Communication Programs brochure, the public can assume that the images shown are real and the statements made truthful13, as opposed to propaganda.

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The Quit Now campaign clearly is beneficial to both the organisation government and the target audience smokers. Firstly, it supports the political objectives of the government, namely to be seen as a responsible administration encouraging a healthy life style and supporting people by giving them the means to do so, as well as protecting the health of non-smokers. This means the governmental costs for health care and hospitals will go down.

Thirdly, Quit Now benefits the target audience by helping them to lead a healthier and, consequently, longer life.

Governments’ Use of Public Relations and Propaganda

In addition, it is also highly probable that the campaign will disencourage other sections of the public from taking up smoking and hence, benefit the entire public, as well as the target audience and the government. Strategies and Tactics Longman, New York, 2000p. Trent and Robert V. Friedenberg, Political Campaign Communication: Principles and Practices Praeger Publishers, London, 1995p.