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The Public Sphere and the Contemporary Mass Media


Mass media has become the greatest force of mobilising public opinion, in the contemporary world. The state of the world, whether it be politics, sociology, culture or economics, the mass media sets the agenda; even the opinion leaders look towards the media for shaping their opinion. The development of media in the new age, contributing to its many new forms such as the new media, has tremendously increased its reach and power. Thus, media is once more among the people, making them not mere passive spectators or listeners but empowering them with the power to telecast or publish. That's how the new media has revolutionised the world, and the contemporary mediascape. The development of the mobile technology has also strengthened its power of gathering together public opinion in a much dynamic way.


Mass media has been in the forefront of mobilizing public opinions, which is created though the media spaces. When we take the media spaces into consideration, it can be seen that there are two dimensions of interaction involved in all the media: interaction with the mediums; and socially with the media technologies which give us gateways to such mediums. Interacting with the mediums is explored by the ritual perspectives of communication whereas the intersubjective communication is explored by transmission accounts. Thus mobilising public opinion works on these two levels entrusting media its fullest responsibilities. The contemporary media has a greater advantage when perceived from this perspective. Mobilising the public opinion and keeping live the public sphere is another way of setting the agenda, which is regarded as one of the functions of the mass media. The mass media is significantly more than a purveyor of information and opinion. Its task is not in telling the readers or the viewers what to think, but empowering them with what to think about. World looks different to different people, depending on their personal interests. Even though the mass media convey a lot about the political, social and economic phenomena, the discussions in the public sphere are the one that make them creative and fruitful. In information societies individuals increasingly interact with medium rather than with other interlocutors. Thus the contemporary mass media, particularly the new media emerges the champion of the public sphere; thanks to the internet, thanks to the blogs, today opinion is free to travel without any resonances and restriction. Network communities have emerged as the most influential and primary public spheres generating, and mobilising opinions. The cyber society has changed the mediascape and the public sphere, and the online forums have reinforced its strength, to give more freedom to the public.

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