Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Human Rights Propaganda
Propaganda has most likely existed in one form or another throughout history. It can take most any form that the propagandist prefers due to its nature. Propaganda is essentially any message that is intended to sway opinion based on emotion more so than on reason. It is because of this simple and basic nature that it can be delivered by means of most any medium. Most people likely think of posters when they think of propaganda, especially posters from the first and second world wars. I believe that this is due to their nostalgic appeal. However, propaganda has also taken the form of everything from radio spots to television and movie films, not to mention the ever present political cartoon. It is true that all forms of advertising are really propaganda, though true propaganda is usually thought to be political in nature. War and government policy have always been hot beds or breeding grounds for political propaganda.
The political propaganda poster that I have chosen, obviously came out around the time of the Olympics. China, being the last of the old school communist countries, is never short of political criticism and basic human rights violations are always among the most common complaints. This poster clearly puts the human rights criticism front and center. The timing of this message was certainly meant to put China's politics and government policies regarding human rights in front of the entire worlds eyes. Furthermore, the message could not be stronger than an image of a political prisoner, who has been beaten and abused, being held with a gun to his head execution style. It would be nearly impossible for this image not to give any free human being a strong negative emotional reaction toword China's government and their policies. Whether you agree with it of not, propaganda has always been an effective means by which to sway public opinion.