Allowing People to Communicate with those in Power

If people are to be able to influence their governance, they need ways of raising issues with those in power; there are at least three options:

  • People can put unsolicited pressure directly on those who hold power (
  • They can express their views during formal consultation (6.5.3).
  • Governments can get feedback on people’s reaction to their policies, through media reporting and Internet comment (6.4.3).

Governments should see communication from the public as more of a help than a threat.   They need to know what people want in order to be responsive, and they have to be responsive in order to survive:

  • Democratic governments have to take account of public opinion, or they will lose the next election.
  • Authoritarian governments depend upon satisfying people’s expectations if they are to retain power in the medium-to-long term.

Feedback from the public has to include the possibility of criticism if governments wish to be fully informed; communication is of no value if it is censored, or if people fear reprisals for expressing unpalatable opinions.  Freedom of speech in politics is the subject of the next section (



This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3a book, © PatternsofPower.org, 2020.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/6831.htm