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Javnost - The Public, Vol. 17 - 2010, No. 4

Journalism,Deliberative Democracy and Government Communication: Normative Arguments from Public Sphere Theory

, pages: 81 - 96[open access]

This article addresses theories of deliberative democracy, the public sphere and government communication, and investigates the ways in which government communication might be carried out to strengthen and improve deliberative democracy, within the wider context of journalism. The article begins by undertaking an extended survey of the normative model of the public sphere, as outlined by Jürgen Habermas, and takes account of his later work on the centrality of the deliberative process to the public sphere. In the second half, the article applies Held’s conceptions of the role of government communication in the strengthening of deliberative democracy, and attempts to make normative arguments about certain forms of government communication. In doing so, it addresses three areas: the problems with the standing “lobby” system of briefing journalists in the UK; ways in which government communication might be held to greater account in the public sphere; ways in which the improved communication of Parliament might impact upon deliberative democracy.

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