The public sphere is an idealized forum for freedom, openness, equality, reason, independence from the political and economic, and civic participation.
This concept developed for Habermas, the beginning refers to the Western feudal society at the end of feudal power decline and the initial development of the capitalist market economy in the social environment, the emergence of a loose, open communication network, daily, weekly based on equality of identity and freedom, the private members of the public class can be organized so that they can rationally exchange their literary and political views. These people gradually become rational and pay attention to the “public” of the public interest. “Public opinion”, the community has gradually to the nature of an independent, independent of political and economic forces “civil society” development.
As the state began to increasingly intervene in the private sphere, the boundaries between society and the state gradually eliminated, the emergence of the country’s “refeudalization” phenomenon, in the community and the national gap between the traditional public domain natural unsustainable, there has been a transformation. The rational communication space of newspapers and periodicals has been gradually replaced by market orientation and the space of rational communication has become less and less, and the media has gradually become the gathering place of propaganda and entertainment, and has become a propaganda product of political and economic forces. The public has changed from social participant to commodity of consumers and spectators.
When citizens negotiate in unrestricted ways, they act as a public body – that is, freedom of assembly, association and freedom of expression for matters of public interest. In a large public body, such communication requires special means to convey information and influence recipients. Today, newspapers, magazines, radio and television are the medium of the public domain.
In conclusion, a healthy public sphere refers to a channel that provides citizens with a free flow of appeal and a platform for expressing democratic opinions. Network public opinion construction has two sides, on the one hand, the network public domain for the public to provide a broad channel, interaction with traditional media, mutual penetration. For example, internet users through the form of posting caused by television, newspapers and other related traditional media in-depth interviews and reports, so that the event a reasonable end. This positive network of public opinion helps to build a “public sphere”. But on the other hand, the random nature of the network caused by the gradual loss of human rationality, the network will produce unethical behavior. Such as some lawless elements to obtain huge profits to create a threat to the social network rumors or Cookie infringement of user privacy, network infringement problems caused by network security risks. This lack of “public sphere” is not conducive to social development.
Habermas, J. (1974). ‘The Public Sphere: An encyclopaedia article’, New German Critique, 3: 49-55