Public opinion

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(from L. opinionem, accepted concept or belief regarding something). A position or emotional attitude concerning particular issues or questions, on which people generally agree. P.O. expresses public interest (or interests) and exerts influence on individual conduct, on the position of social groups, and on national and international policy. P.O. plays an important role in the formation of collective organization. In many cases this leads to manipulation of the collective consciousness by means of governmental control of the news media, bureaucratic procedures, the falsification of polling results, etc. The general study of p.o. emphasizes the quantitative measurement of opinions; the investigation of the relationship between individual and collective opinions regarding a specific issue; the description of the political role of p.o.; and the study of the influence of the mass media and other factors on the formation of p.o. The formation of the information society creates technological conditions that can lead to an elimination of traditional manipulation and falsification of p.o., but for this to come about will require the conscious civic participation of all citizens of good will. N.H. protests against the manipulation of p.o. and the monopoly of the news media, it struggles against these shameful policies and denounces them in concrete cases where they appear, working to ensure freedom of consciousness. Interpersonal contact, electronic magazines, neighborhood newspapers, yearbooks and other publications of humanist orientation are an important contribution to the formation of free and democratic p.o.