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The systematic propagation of political beliefs. The first recorded use of the word propaganda has been traced to the seventeenth century, ‘when Pope Gregory XV named in 1622 the [Sacra] Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith), a missionary organisation set up by the Vatican to counteract the rival ideas of the Protestant reformation’ (Clark, 1997: 7). The original meaning of ‘propaganda’ was therefore clearly not laden with the pejorative overtones it currently has, since this department of papal propagandists proudly performed ‘the task of reviving Catholicism in Reformation Europe and strengthening it in the New World’ (Taylor, 1995: 111).

The negative connotations associated with propaganda stem mainly from government campaigns during the First World War – particularly those of the ...

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