Some of the major obstacles faced in the formation of healthy public opinion are as follows:
1. Illiteracy and Ignorance:
Illiteracy is the biggest obstacle. An illiterate person has a very limited knowledge and he cannot fully understand politics and its allied complex problems. He is also incapable of making independent decisions and follows others blindly in the formation of his opinion. Along with ignorance, the inability and unwillingness to participate in the political process due to ignorance is also a big hindrance in the way of formulation of healthy public opinion.
2. Poverty & Backwardness:
A poor person remains engrossed in his own economic problems and his efforts are directed to their solution. He is tempted by the lust of money and sells off his free will. As such he remains incapable of making or taking any independent decision and genuine public opinion cannot be formulated.
3. Unsound Party System:
The parties formed on wrong basis are also an obstacle in the formation of public opinion. The parties organised on the basis of narrow factors like language, religion, region etc. make wrong propaganda and remain involved in grinding their own axes. These often ignore the demands of national interest for the sake of their selfish interests. In this way they make the thinking of the people parochial.
4. Controlled and Un-free Press:
The partial press presents to the people one sided view point, and keeps the people away from truth. At present some political parties have their own newspapers which project and propagate their respective views.
These newspapers present even the good points of the other parties in a distorted form. These are at times involved in yellow journalism and practice sensationalism for increasing their sales. All this acts as a hindrance in the way of formation of healthy public opinion.
5. Authoritarian Government:
In the countries where there are autocratic governments, there is limited freedom in the expression of free views. In these countries, the people have to suppress their views. They cannot afford to open their mouths freely against that government, and they have to express the same views which their government represents. It does not help in the formation of genuine public opinion. Dictators have never permitted the people of Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) to freely express their views.
6. Unreality of Rights and Duties:
The formation of the right type of public opinion is not possible in the absence of rights and liberties. The rights and liberties create such an environment in which the individual can think freely and express his views rightly. In the absence of rights and liberties wrong views get formed and circulated. The ratio of ill-founded opinion is in direct proportion to the number of wrong views or notions projected by vested interests.
7. Indolence and Indifference among citizens:
Indolence and indifference are also-a big obstacle in the way of impartial public opinion, because the indolent persons do not take part in the general activities or they try to keep themselves neutral. As a result, a handful of active participants in political activities come to dominate such activities and they are in a position to prepare a public opinion of their favorite choice.
8. Social and Economic Inequality:
Social inequality is also an obstacle in the formation of healthy public opinion. In such a society, discriminations are made on grounds of caste, religion, colour, race etc. between man and man, and some people are relegated to a lower status in the society. Due importance to the views of down trodden people is not given, and the people belonging to higher classes impose their views on them. Such a public opinion can never be healthy and true.
9. Defective Educational System:
Education has a special importance in the development of man. Whatever things a person learns in his childhood, he remembers these throughout his life. Therefore, if a child is given in childhood a defective education based on casteism and communalism, his right thinking never develops. This greatly hinders the birth of healthy public opinion.
The conservatives hold a regressive outlook, and they act as a hindrance in the way of progressive thinking and action. The conservative people remain tied down to the out dated values. As a result, the right type of public opinion in respect of much needed reforms and changes fails to emerge in society. Therefore, for the formulation of healthy and true public opinion, the above mentioned obstacles should be removed through corrective steps.