In modern society, the mass media is of central importance in informing, educating and entertaining the public through reflections of different aspects of the society, such as educational issue, economic circumstance and political affair. Benefiting from the development of new media technologies, the power of mass media to shape public perceptions on broad issues has been considerably strengthened by the achievements as a wider coverage of media audiences and the competence of instantaneous information transmission and updating. Besides the functions like entertainment and public service announcement, the mass media is also mainly used as an effective tool for the purpose of advocacy which includes advertising, marketing, propaganda, public relations and political communication. In particular, propaganda, which shoulders the task of creating and directing public opinion as a certain form of communication, can be regarded as one of the most important aspects of policy management that might affect people’s ordinary life easily and directly.
Referring to the behaviour of civil government which could be defined as the management of one specific political party, public image plays a vital role among different spheres of political affairs. For instance, the efficiency of a democratic government to deal with the regulation and governance of a nation, the protection of its citizens in their own rights, the preservation of its safety, prosperity and resources, the defense of its own sovereign rights against foreign control, the improvement of citizen morals could be tremendously influenced by the public image of the political party which is in charge of the government. Therefore, in order to maintain a public image which is not only magnificent for political parties but also organizations or high-profile people, such as social institutions and celebrities, the practice of promotional culture, consisting public relations and propaganda, has been concerned a very central part of social activities. Edward (2006) defines public relations as a product which is linked with economic and political circumstances and evolves the needs of broader environments, which provides an organization or individual exposure to the audience according to public interests. In addition, as the propulsion of the process of democracy, it is widely argued whether public relations enhances democratic communication in terms of the function of propaganda is to manipulate public opinion for certain desired intent or political propose. This essay will try to identify the definition of public relations and democracy, and then examine critically the arguments for and against the view that public relations enhances democratic communication.
Definitions of public relations and democracy
With the rise of promotional culture, public relations and propaganda strategies are now gradually becoming central concerns of various social subjects. One of the official definitions given by...