From ArticleWorld

The term propaganda has not always had a negative connotation but today it is generally understood to mean the spreading of false or biased information in an effort to manipulate opinion and influence behaviour. The desired effect may be to encourage a positive or a negative opinion and the method is usually insidious.

In other languages besides English, the term is not necessarily a negative one and can be used to mean advertising.


While propaganda usually refers to the manipulation of information for political or nationalist purposes, it could be said that advertising is propaganda as well but for a commercial purpose. Public information campaigns such as the importance of wearing seat belts or the dangers of smoking have a lot in common with propaganda as the idea is to change behaviour in a certain direction. There is a difference, however, and this is in the use of misleading information. Propaganda in the strict sense of the word uses deception and one-sidedness.

It has been used very successfully during times of war where both the soldiers fighting and the families left at home have to be convinced that what they are doing is necessary and good.


Propaganda is usually spread by the media, whether electronic such as the television and radio or printed such as leaflets and newspapers. It has become a very efficient industry with many successful techniques. One only has to look at its use throughout history to understand that it is very effective when appealing to fear. Using prominent figures is the tactic of appealing to authority figures and tireless repetition works on the principle that if something is repeated often enough, it becomes fact.

Stereotyping and scapegoating are more successful techniques as is the inciting of the public to join the bandwagon, and not be left out. Appealing to greed is another way of getting the message across.