Social Media, Democracy and Public Service Media

Petros Iosifidis 1 *

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Abstract

The traditional Habermasian concept of the national public sphere created by the mass media of newspapers and television is said to have transformed to a multi-layered sphere of online and social networks which are increasingly important in engaging and mobilizing citizenship and in shaping the discourse within which rational discussion takes place. This article argues that the democratizing and empowering functions of the Internet and the new social media is being exaggerated and represent technological optimism for a number of reasons: the open participation of the Internet can turn chaotic; there is a problem of inclusiveness; censorship might be an issue; the Internet has become a major arena for corporate activity; the Internet’s content is highly partisan; and above all, extensive dialogue and critical discussion (the very essence of the public sphere) is often absent on the Net. The article argues that open-access Public Service Media (PSM) are capable of developing more comprehensive and inclusive social frameworks than online providers. As trusted media brands, PSM contribute to the creation of an inclusive public sphere, enhanced civic engagement and informed citizenship.

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 4, Issue October 2014 - Special Issue, pp. 71-88

Published Online: 01 Oct 2014

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