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  • Subject Name : Ecology

Public Communication Ecology

Introduction to Public Relations

Public relations have a significant role in civil society which deals with the influence of experts to shape the texture of the society. In the territory of Australia, public relations have grown significantly in terms of attracting the criticism of people and all the other significant academic disciplines. The present report will analyze the influence of public communication professionals in both the public as well as non-profit sectors dealing with the contemporary media issue of COVID-19 and worker’s rights in Australia.

The Role of Public Communication

The role of public communication is immense in society as it is a medium of giving and taking of messages information from one platform to another. This plays an important role in the development and maintenance of a civil society as no society can function without effective communication. The role of public communication works at micro as well as on a macro level where knowledge is widely extended to shape the opinion of the people in the society (Ramsey, 2016). Various scholarly researches have equated the power of media to the principles of democracy. Media communication is reflective of the free-market economies which are an integrated source of political and economic exchange of relations (Burkart, 2018)

Advertising, Public Relations & the Public Sphere

The public sphere is a theory that is used to understand contemporary social life inside critical communication and media study. It also influences public relations. The public sphere is open to all the citizens in the society as it is a space or the platform on which the people in the society can discuss the contemporary political issues and formulate opinions accordingly. However public relations came to dominate the public square under which the techniques of public relations start diagnosing the public sphere (Burkart, 2018). The researcher of the public sphere must provide attention to the strategies of public relations to understand as to how the public functions in society. The public sphere is gradually dismantled because of the higher commercialization of media and its influence upon the public discourse. Public relations focus on the media to create an impact on the agenda. Apart from this public discourse is also undermined by the public relations to seek the attention of the issues related to the public as well as a private interest. Various scholars like Habermas have argued that public relations have influenced the grounds of communication in society because this appeals to the interest of the public (Pieczka, 2019). However, advertising is only a technique to influence the opinion of the public regarding their role as consumers in the civil society. The major agenda of private advertising is to attract private people as they are consumers, while public relations influence the public opinion of the private citizens in society and not as consumers.

Media Effects, Framing and Agenda Setting

Various forms of media influence the opinions of the public regarding setting a particular agenda and influences the behavior of the people in the society regarding their opinion of the issue. The problem of COVID-19 and workers' rights is immense during the current pandemic situation and the setting up of agenda regarding the same or framing of the issue is likely to cause because of the effects of media in the society. Framing is a type of communication tool that is used for campaigning. Moreover, media effects are highly more complex as it is heavily dependent upon the selective information available in society. Therefore in the year 1970, a major paradigm shift can be experienced upon the public communication platform with the return of mass media as it has a strong influence on long term effects upon the citizens (Habermas, 2005). It is important to know that agenda-setting is an idea with a strong correlation between the mass media upon any contemporary issue like COVID-19 and the rights of the worker and the importance of the same issue to the people in the society.

Priming is usually exposed to the audience when any new content is exposed to the new audience in society to evaluate the performance of the government in society (Shaw, 2016). It is important to note that to make relevant issues assessable and important in the mindset of the people for while making any agenda, the effects of media play a considerable important role to make judgments regarding the priming or issues in the society. Framing is usually different from agenda-setting and priming on media effect because it is usually based upon the principle of assumption as to how will an issue be categorized with new reports in the society. Therefore, to understand and form an opinion of the issue of COVID-19 and the rights of the workers is highly dependent upon these factors of public communication.

The Issue: COVID 19 & Worker’s rights

The issue of the current pandemic COVID-19 and the rights of the workers are highly debated through various public communication platforms. The organizations must assess the impact of post-COVID-19 situations on the life of the employees and the wage workers. The issue revolves around the arrangement of employment and various agreements with the workers to minimize the negative impact of the pandemic upon the basic rights of the workers. It can be seen in the territory of Australia that because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation undermines to cut down the basic salary that needs to be provided to the workers which are the exploitation of the rights of the employees in the country.

Context of The Issue

The current issue of COVID-19 and its impact on the rights of the workers is highly immense as it is creating a negative impact on the workforce in the territory of Australia. This negative impact is highly extended to the migrant workers who are disproportionately at higher risk from the impact of the COVID-19 situation. Various Human Rights groups and other construction associations have won the government to make adequate remedies to help them to combat the issue. Due to the problems of lockdown, and living in overcrowded situations where no isolation is possible, these people are at major risk as only limited access to healthcare services is provided to the exploited workers and laborers in the territory of Australia due to the outbreak of coronavirus(Fitch, 2017). Many debates are going on upon various media platforms where public communication is being used to let out the opinion of the public regarding the safeguards of the basic human rights of the workers.

Public Sector

Australia has reported more than 7150 confirmed cases of coronavirus and this has let the government ban various overseas travels across the globe. To combat the issue of coronavirus and its negative impact upon the rights of the workers, some various opportunities and limitations can be outlined with the help of various public communication tools and the opinion of the public regarding the recourse adopted by the public sector. It is advisable to the public sector that it needs to work to minimize the expectations of workers and apart from this the government is also supporting the public sector by providing them various economic packages. The Government of Australia is providing income support to various households with cash flow support to various businesses that are likely to get affected due to the current situation. Apart from this the parliament of Australia has also approved the authorization of providing 40 billion dollars for any unforeseen events that are likely to occur (Demetrious, 2019). Another measure that is supported by the public sector is that it is providing loan guarantees and various residential mortgage securities to help the workers to cope up with the situation of COVID-19. Various banks have also regulated their policy rates. The Reserve Bank of Australia has also conducted various repo operations for the longer maturities to assist and ensure the smooth functioning of the capital markets in Australia (Demetrious, 2019).

Public communication professionals are not solely dependent upon the strategic management of public administration and only contribute to its operational activities (Pieczka, 2019). Strategic communication must be adopted for various communication activities from the different departments so that the same can be executed in a well-planned manner to achieve the goals. Advertisement is that communication tool which is used by the public sector by creating various public Service advertisements for announcements to persuade the people in the society to promote or influence their behavior. To combat the issue of COVID-19 and the rights of the workers are accelerated to society by the public sector through various advertisements on different platforms.

Non- Profit Sector

For the nonprofit sectors, support must be extracted from the power of social media to connect with the new alliance. Usually, the nonprofit sectors are limited with budgets and it is only the public communication platforms like social media which provides this sector an opportunity to share the relevant information with the audience in the society (Fitch, 2017). This is done to build a community for their mission. To combat with the issue of COVID-19 and its negative impact upon the rights of the workers it is important that the nonprofit organizations must take support from various techniques like agenda setting, framing (Elizabeth, 2019). Similarly the effects of the media will also help the nonprofit sector to formulate and influence the opinion and behavior of the people in the society regarding the issue of the exploitation of workers right during the pandemic (Fitch, 2017). In Australia, it has been seen that the nonprofit sector is conducting various webinars and training programs on various electronic media platforms to provide support related to the employment matters in the country. The technique of advertisement is also used by the nonprofit sector on various public communication platforms to attract the attention of the people in society regarding the issue of COVID-19 and the worker's rights (Graham, 2012).

Conclusion on Public Communication Ecology

Public communication is a platform that can be reached within indirect mobilization with the help of various electronic platforms and techniques. No direct participation is required ant media is in the reach of almost every individual in the society and thus because of its structural factors, public opinion can easily be influenced by the help of media and public communication. A public sphere is emerging as a platform of criticism and debate which is still subjected to a form of scrutiny. In other words, the public sphere is a domain of social life under which an opinion of the public can be formed. Both agenda setting and priming are based upon the memory-based model of information and work with the baseline that attitudes of the people are based upon the most assessable considerations at the time of making any decisions. To assess the current situation of COVID-19 and the rights of workers can be determined with the fact that on a major level public relation are only used as a set of communication tactics and not as strategic management.

Reference for Public Communication Ecology

Burkart, R (2018) On Habermas: Communication and understanding- key concepts in public relations. Public Relations and Social Theory: Key Figures, Concepts and Issues (2nd edition). London: Routledge, pp.272–292.

Demetrious, K. (2019). In ordinary places: The intersections between public relations and neoliberalism: Special issue. Public Relations Inquiry 8(2): 105–108

Elizabeth, J. (2019). The meaningful impact of PR on the nonprofit sector. Retrieved from https://www.barefootpublicrelations.com/2019/04/02/the-meaningful-impact-of-pr-on-the-nonprofit-sector/

Fitch, K. (2017) Other voices? The state of public relations history and historiography: Questions, challenges and limitations of ‘national’ histories and historiographies. Public Relations Inquiry, 6(1): 115–136.

Graham, G. (2012). Public Opinion and Public Sphere. In C. Emden & D. Midgley (Eds.), Beyond Habermas: Democracy, Knowledge, and the Public Sphere (pp.29–41). Oxford: Berghahn Books.

McCombs, M. (2004). Setting the agenda: The mass media and public opinion. Malden, MA: Blackwell

Pieczka, M. (2019). Looking back and going forward: The concept of the public in public relations theory. Public Relations Inquiry, 8(3), 225–244. https://doi.org/10.1177/2046147X19870269

Ramsey, P. (2016). The public sphere and PR: deliberative democracy and agonistic pluralism. In J. L'Etang, D. McKie, N. Snow and J. Xifra (Eds), Routledge Handbook of Critical Public Relations, 2(1), 65–75. Abingdon: Routledge. (https://www.routledge.com/products/9780415727334)

Shaw, D. (2016). The agenda-setting function of mass media. Public Opinion Quarterly, 36(2), 176–187.

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