Introducing World-Infostructure
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  The Concept of the Public Sphere

According to social critic and philosopher Jürgen Habermas "public sphere" first of all means "... a domain of our social life in which such a thing as public opinion can be formed. Access to the public sphere is open in principle to all citizens. A portion of the public sphere is constituted in every conversation in which private persons come together to form a public. They are then acting neither as business or professional people conducting their private affairs, nor as legal consociates subject to the legal regulations of a state bureaucracy and obligated to obedience. Citizens act as a public when they deal with matters of general interest without being subject to coercion; thus with the guarantee that they may assemble and unite freely, and express and publicize their opinions freely."

The system of the public sphere is extremely complex, consisting of spatial and communicational publics of different sizes, which can overlap, exclude and cover, but also mutually influence each other. Public sphere is not something that just happens, but also produced through social norms and rules, and channeled via the construction of spaces and the media. In the ideal situation the public sphere is transparent and accessible for all citizens, issues and opinions. For democratic societies the public sphere constitutes an extremely important element within the process of public opinion formation.

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The content industry
0   The Concept of the Public Sphere
+1   The Role of the Media
+2   Media Control and the Influence of Public Discourse
+3   Content Choice and Selective Reporting
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