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The agencies of Public Opinion

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An agency of public opinion refers to the medium through which news about a particular issue of public importance is carried.

Print media
The press refers to such mediums of carrying news like the newspapers, magazines, periodicals, Journals, and more recently, reading of materials on the internet. As individuals read these materials or watch videos on the Internet, they come into contact with information that helps to shape their own opinions on issues.

The electronic media
Another medium through which public opinion is formed is electronic media. The electronic media includes radio, television, and films. People listen to the radio, they watch the television and films so as they do so, their opinion is shaped depending on the programmes they listen to or watch.

Institutions of higher learning have been the bedrock of political agitation in many parts of the world. This is because the students are matured enough to understand the political, economic and social issues of their country. The students in these institutions of higher learning follow events in their respective countries and do extensive discussions on them. The schools, therefore, serve as agencies of public opinion.

The Legislature
Parliaments create a platform for the discussion of issues of importance to a nation. There are in these parliaments, correspondence from various press houses carry information about the happenings in parliament to the public. As the news reaches the public, their opinion is shaped. So the Legislature can also be seen as an agency of public opinion.

Political Parties
Every political party's prayer is to win political power in its country one day. In order for this to materialize, the political parties must speak to the people and convince them to vote in their favour. As the political parties engage in their political activities, they release information to the public, based upon which the public votes. Such information as released to the public forms the bases upon which their opinion is formed. So political parties also serve as agencies of public opinion.

Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is by far, the oldest means by which news is carried. People converge, informally, in small groups to discuss issues of national importance. The information that is transmitted in the course of these discussions, continue to travel by the same word of mouth and based on such information, people form their opinion. So word of mouth is also seen as an agency of public opinion.

1. a. Explain the term “Agency of Public Opinion”? [2 marks]
    b. Highlight five agencies of public opinion. [10 marks]
2. Explain six agencies of public opinion? [12 marks]

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