What is the purpose of the propaganda

Media war

Only those who recognize propaganda as such can defend themselves against it.

Propaganda is the attempt to specifically influence the way people think, act and feel. Anyone who does propaganda is always pursuing a certain interest. In connection with the war, politicians and the military make use of propaganda, for example to convince their own population of a war. They emphasize the necessity of war (destructive enemies, security of their own population, dismissal of a brutal regime, etc.) and ignore all other aspects (own power and economic interests, caused war suffering, war crimes committed by their own soldiers, etc.) Propaganda is also used to recruit soldiers for war or to maintain the military's readiness to fight. One means for this is, for example, to emphasize the threat posed by the enemy in order to direct aggression in a targeted manner. In relation to the war opponent, the main aim of propaganda is to weaken the war morale of the opposing population and soldiers or to deceive the enemy by disseminating false information. In addition, states that are members of military alliances often try to use propaganda to convince their allies of the necessity of a war effort and to obtain their participation in military actions.

War propaganda takes various forms. There are forms of propaganda that can do without the use of the media. These include speeches, sermons or songs in front of an audience that is present. These forms have been used since ancient times. The possibilities and advantages of electronic media in particular with regard to the extent of dissemination, the speed of transmission and storage have led to the fact that propaganda is now almost exclusively carried out using media. Frequently used forms are written documents such as leaflets, newspaper and Internet articles or posters, photographic recordings, film recordings, radio broadcasts or computer games. The propaganda use of the media usually begins long before the war. Dissemination takes place through direct personal distribution, via mass media and increasingly via the Internet.

The photo shows the victims of an alleged massacre by Serbs in the village of Ra├žak in Kosovo in January 1999. However, it has never been possible to conclusively determine how the dead died. According to some assessments, this image was deliberately spread by the KLA in order to induce NATO to intervene militarily. (& copy AP)
It is characteristic of propaganda that it does not explain the different sides of a topic and mixes opinion and information. Those who do propaganda do not want to discuss and convince with arguments, but want to use all tricks to influence people's emotions and behavior, for example by frightening them, making them angry or making promises to them. Propaganda relieves people of thinking and instead gives them the feeling that they are correct with their adopted opinion. This shows the big difference to journalistic information, for example: Journalists provide information by presenting all available facts and backgrounds and letting people decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong.

The term propaganda is mainly used today in connection with strategies of influence in authoritarian and totalitarian states. There, propaganda is mostly combined with other forms of state information control such as direct censorship, monopoly of the media or persecution of those who think differently.

In democratic states, the media are not subject to any direct state control. Due to the great importance that the media have for the formation of public opinion, democratic states also try to actively influence the media in connection with wars. This is done through targeted public relations work or PR (Public Relations) before, during and after the war. In some cases, external PR agencies and consultants are also commissioned for this purpose. The state actors pursue the goal of making their own actions in connection with a war appear in the public perception in the most positive light possible. The media representation of a war event should, if possible, be based on its interpretation. At least one's own, actively widespread perception of the war or a war event should be accepted and conveyed further by the media. This is done using various strategies such as B. the dissemination of own media reports, the implementation of media events, the public reaction to unfavorable reports or the initiation of a public exchange through the media. The methods used in the context of war propaganda and PR are in part similar, a precise distinction between the two forms is not always possible in individual cases.