PROPAGANDA. The original use of the term propaganda referred to the concerted effort of the Roman Catholic Church to disseminate the true faith to Christians who had gone astray and to non-Christians who had never known it. The term acquired a pejorative meaning in this century when it was used by all modern states to mold public opinion in support of their policies.
An early definition of propaganda referred to techniques for influencing human action by manipulating spoken, written, pictorial, or musical representations. This definition is unsatisfactory because it applies to all forms of communication, including education, persuasion, and advertising, none of which share propaganda’s seedy reputation. Jowett and O’Donnell (1992) resolved this problem by highlighting the motives of the communicator. They defined propaganda as the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers only the intent of the propagandist. By contrast, education seeks to promote mutual understanding of all parties to the interaction, and persuasion to promote mutual fulfillment of their needs.