Current Issue 13thFebruary 2016 - 19 February 2016, i.e. No. 45


Dr. Pradeep Nair

Political Communication is the web of human society. The structure of a political communication system with its more or less well defined channels is in a sense the skeleton of the social body which envelops it. The content of political communication is of course the very substance of human intercourse. The flow of political communication determines the direction and pace of dynamic social and political development. One can analyze the social and political process of a country in terms of the structure, content and flow of political communication activities prevailing in that country.

Scope and Areas of Work

     Political communication is the process by which a nation’s leadership, media and citizenry exchange and confer meaning upon messages that relate to the conduct of public policy. The distinguishing characteristic of political communication is that messages are concerned broadly with governance, or the conduct of public policy. It is commonly believed that political communication is concerned only with elections, but this is not so. Politics broadly defined, concerns the process by which society reaches consensus on policy issues. Thus political communication occurs when citizens, media and leaders ‘dialogue’ about issues of broad concern to elites or the public.

     Political communication is a multidisciplinary field of scholarly study. It has scope for the graduates from the fields of Communication, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Management and Philosophy.

     Students of political communication generally learn about the role of communication and media in shaping the public understanding of policy and governance issues. They learn media advocacy, the crafting of messages about political developments, and strategies for the promotion of political services.

     Communication is a key tool that political communicators use to understand political environment by focusing on each and every aspect of the political life of a nation.   In political sector communication is used to educate and train people to study and analyze the nature and state of specific structures which widely affect all the process of political communications in the society. In most studies of political development in developing countries, the prime approach was laid in terms of the broader concept of communication functions as an all pervading aspect of political life. The studies are mostly concerned with the understanding of the relationship between media institutions/channels and the patterns of political change basic to the problems of contemporary nation building.

     The scope of political communication is tremendous. It offers an excellent opportunity to communication scholars having a background in social sciences and humanities along with communication to study how governments in transitional societies can best manage the political communication activities and tools to facilitate political modernization.

     There is a peculiarly intimate relationship between the political and communication process. For within the domain of politics, communication has a fundamental function. Few people can observe at first hand the sequence of acts which constitute even a small segment of the political process; men must depend instead upon a communication/media system to provide them with a comprehension of the substance of politics at any particular time. A well planned political communication effort involves people and empowers people to take rational and informed policy decisions through appropriate knowledge, inculcates necessary skills and optimism, facilitates and stimulates pertinent action through changed mindsets and modified behaviours. In a country like India, where major part of the population still live in villages, and constraints like illiteracy and poverty still pose as a barrier to development, we need a number of communication channels to reach these masses that should be aware and be able to promote political developments in the form of good governance at individual and societal level.

Nature of the Job

     Having a Degree or Diploma in Communication/Media Studies along with a broad understanding of Political, Social, Cultural and Psychological system of a particular society/nation can offer you a range of communication activities to work as a link between government and public affairs ensuring that common people can get the best results of good governance.

     The common political communication practices provides you the opportunities to work in areas like profile enhancement programmes, media analysis, production of media materials, organizing and managing political conferences and events, speech and presentation writings and much more.

     All these practices are adopted by political communicators to voice themselves in their field and to play a key role in shaping the political environment to best advantage. Political communicator generally works closely with political workers to ensure that their case hits home with the people who matter most. It is the responsibility of political communicators to make sure that the publics should know the politics, policies, people and process that drive decisions which affects their day-to-day life.

     In advocacy role, political communicators advice political leaders on what to say, how to say, whom to say, and when to say. The practice of political communication also covers political monitoring, policy research and analysis, strategic and procedural advice and reputation management that is to make political leaders learn how to enhance their reputations and to build a strong relation with their community people.

     Political communicators also help in designing and strategizing political campaigning and coalition building. In today’s digital technology era, campaigning to influence political decisions is more demanding than ever before. The media is increasingly powerful in shaping political debate and those involved get their information from more diverse and sophisticated information sources. Therefore, political campaigns need to use a range of traditional and cutting-edge techniques in order to succeed.

     One having a good communication and management skills with a wide conceptual understanding of the correlation between politics and communication, can work with political communication consultancies to develop, organize and run political and policy campaign management plans for their clients.  Political communication consultancies are also developing practical and innovative electronic campaigning services including internet monitoring and rebuttal, running online press offices and viral marketing which further provides you an excellent opportunity to work as a political communicator with the cyber media.

Where to Study and the Eligibility

     Presently many departments of Communication of Indian Universities are offering Political Communication as one of their optional subjects at Post Graduate level. People trained in Journalism and Mass Communication with a degree in Political Science, Sociology, Psychology or Management can be easily recruited to work as a political communicator in diverse areas. The foremost requirement is a good understanding of political dimensions of development through the eyes of communication.

Where to Look for the Job

     Government political organizations, political agencies and departments, academic and research institutions, communication consultancies working in the field of political development, media organizations, non-government organizations working in governance sectors generally advertise their vacancies in newspapers. Websites of these organizations also give you the details of the jobs, eligibility and application procedure. You can work with these agencies as a political communication specialist, journalist, researcher and media consultant.


     The salary in political communication sectors depends on your qualification and experience, your expertise in policy and governance issues and on your communication skills. Having a degree or diploma in Communication Studies along with a good understanding of political development issues can help you to earn 20,000 to 25,000 at entry level positions. A Master’s or Doctoral degree in Communication Studies with a formal education/specialization in Social Sciences/Humanities is recommended for more opportunities.  Reputed Non Government Organizations and Communication Consultancies can offer good remuneration to political communication professionals for their different projects/programmes. International donors and government partners also offers good positions for people having a good understanding of cross-cutting support in policy and governance research. A strong leadership, team development and networking skills may promise you a high position in policy management and governance sector. 

Excelling your Skills

     As a political communicator one should have a good understanding of the effective communication to plan and create initiatives at all levels, from designing simple political messages for print or electronic media or for a website to strategize a complete political communication campaign. Political campaigns require research based communication strategies to design and deliver media messages to the intended audiences. As a political communicator one should have to learn to analyse the most manifest structural problems of attitudes and values in the total process of political change and nation building.

     As a Political Communicator, you need to have a deep conceptual understanding of macro analysis of objective social and economic problems and micro analysis of subjective psychological problems of a society to understand how a complete process of political modernization takes place in a country.  As a political communication expert you should know how political consensus has a relation to the deeply held attitudes and sentiments of individuals which are generally framed through their media exposures. A multiple approach to relate the development of political institutions with the organization of political articulation, expression of interests, formation of collective opinions and values to political consensus can help you to establish yourself as a political communication strategist.

(Dr. Pradeep Nair is presently working as a Research Scientist at Anwar Jamal Kidwai– Mass Communication Research Centre (MCRC), Jamia Millia Islamia (A Central University), Jamia Nagar, New Delhi – 110025  e-mail Id:,

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