Do Public Relations Enhance Democratic Communication?

3237 words - 13 pages

A key concept in liberal democracy is based on a consensus (shared thoughts and judgements from the public). This can be supported by a quote from Price who says a key concept of liberal democracy at a starting point refers to “collective judgements outside the sphere of government that affect political decision making” (Price, 1992 8). Price’s quote elaborates the importance of public opinion within politics especially within a liberal democracy. The concept of public opinion developed around the time of the emergence of the enlightenment theory. A key theorist in the enlightenment theory was Rousseau. Rousseau developed the ‘general will’ of the people. The ‘general will’ consisted of the desires and interests of the public as a whole rather than as individuals. Rousseau’s ‘general will’ exhibits the development of public opinion as people in society shifted from individualistic views and desires to shared judgements and desires which helped to form public opinion and the public sphere.
We now live in a liberal democracy were public opinion influences political action. So as public opinion has sustained an influential presence within politics we have now seen the emergence of public relations within politics. According to Moloney public relations is “the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning the understanding, support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain good will and mutual understanding between organisations and its publics” (Moloney, 2:2006). In relation to politics public relations is about maintaining a positive relationship with the public. Public relations main concern in relation to politics would be the reputation and image of politicians within the media. Public relations aim is to influence the public’s opinion to sustain a mutual understanding between politicians and the public. Public relation tries to maintain good relations with the public and politicians through information management.
Examples of information management would be through promotional activities such as advertising and marketing during political campaigns, reputation management which is to try and produce a positive image of politicians within the media to influence the public’s opinion on the politician and corporate social responsibility. A quote which shows the importance of corporate social responsibility within public relations would be that “As tolerance for corporate malfeasance dropped, expectations of good corporate behaviour have risen. As a result, transparency and authenticity have become vital for all companies. Gone are the days when companies can "cover up" bad news, particularly in this age of citizen journalism and social media. And, as a result of citizen journalism and social media, companies must actively engage with internal and external audiences” (Ogilvy PR Worldwide 2011)
Corporate social responsibility is about the government taking...

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