These may be discussed as follows:
Press is a very powerful agency for moulding public opinion. Press includes newspapers of all sorts, periodicals, magazines, pamphlets, leaflets and other printed literature. Press is both formulalive as also informative.
Newspapers supply news regarding almost all political and social happenings in the world. Different political problems arc commented upon in editorials and leading articles. The Press throws a flood of light on current issues. Newspapers criticize the policy of the Government and point out defects in the administration.
This information is useful both for the Government and the people. Little wonder the influence of the press is now- a-days on the increase. With the spreading of literacy among the masses, the Press is regarded as the ‘watchdog’ of democracy.
Although the Press renders very useful service to the people yet it is not without defects. A large number of newspapers now-a-days arc run on commercial lines. In order to push the sale of their papers, the proprietors sometimes indulge in yellow journalism and demoralize public opinion. The Press must not, therefore, be controlled by unhealthy profiteers and vested or sectional interests.
Platform is the second agency through which public opinion can be moulded. Although extensive propaganda cannot be carried on the platform, yet this agency is by no means less important. A speaker, while addressing the audience, can lend a personal touch to the abstract principles of politics.
He can make his speech more effective by means of emotions and gestures. Thus, what the Press docs through the written word, the platform docs through the spoken word.
The greatest defect from which the platform suffers is demagogy. Sometimes, a speaker is swept off his feet at the heat of the moment and makes an appeal to the impulsive sentiments of the people.
It is the most recent invention. It is undoubtedly the biggest agency of propaganda. It is more powerful than the Press, because different ideas and news can be relayed all over the world without any loss of time.
Radio and television play an important part in disseminating information and moulding the thoughts of their audience. These institutions must be free from the control of monopolists and other private vested interests.
Cinema can also mould public opinion. The cinema caters to the artistic and intellectual needs of the people. It also cultivates new ideas and norms in society on political and economic problems.
5. Educational Institutions:
Educational institutions include schools, colleges, universities, literary clubs, study circles, libraries and reading rooms. Educational institutions can mould public opinion to a very great extent.
In view of their impressionable minds, adolescents between the age of 12 and 20 years can very easily be influenced. Educational institutions were used by the dictators in Germany and Italy for the propagation of their creeds.
Such institutions should not, however,used for political aims. Education should be kept free from politics.
Legislature in every democratic country is a forum for expression of political ideas. Debates and discussions arc held in the legislature. An account of these debates is published in the newspapers.
People read them with great interest and thus they are acquainted with all the aspects of political life.
7. Political Parties:
Political parties are called brokers of ideas. They formulate and organize public opinion. There would be no organized public opinion if there were no political parties.
They bring different issues before the people and help to formulate opinion by their propaganda and discussion.