What is the Importance of Public Opinion in a Democracy? Describe the Various Agencies Through Which Public Opinion is Expressed

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

Public opinion is of great importance in a democracy as it is a government for the people, by the people, and of the people. For a democratic government, it is necessary to pay attention to the views of the people. To form a strong government, it is reasonably necessary to be receptive to what the people say. People naturally trust a government that listens to its people and acts accordingly.

Importance of Public Opinion in a Democracy

Public opinion is a set of collective views of the citizens about social, economic, and political matters. The term ‘public opinion’ was coined by John Locke in the 17th century, although the idea of ​​’public opinion’ is much older than that. The concept of ‘voice of the people‘ or ‘vox populi’ is an ancient Latin concept.

An opinion is not necessarily supported by a fact, as it is an expression of one’s feelings toward something. Therefore, public opinion is a collective expression of people’s feelings toward the government and its policies. Public opinion has so much power that it can topple the existing government. This is because the public or citizens must feel that they are heard and respected in a democracy.

Various Agencies Expressing Public Opinion

If a government doesn’t work properly, a referendum against it can easily topple it by voting against it in elections and bringing in a new government. Public confidence must be built by the government while formulating new policies or plans to make decisions that affect society in one or more ways. If the governing party fails to do so, it may lead to public protests and other unpleasant incidents.

Public opinion can be expressed through various means, such as

  • Legislature
  • Holding public meetings and forming associations
  • Processions, rallies, or strikes
  • Educational institutions
  • Political parties
  • Social media platforms
  • Press, Radio, and TV
  • Religious Institutions

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