SETTINGS OF PRESS FREEDOM AND PUBLIC OPINION IN HEGEL

Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 50 (119):63-92 (2009)
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Abstract

New settings for communication are being built, having, at one side, great corporations of television, radio, press and on line media, and at the other side the role of the independent / alternative press, understood as not bound to a private, public or state enterprise or to some economic group. It takes gradually shape the constitution of the opposition between the traditional media and the independent / alternative press, having as a material base the new technologies of information. How can the new technology of information associated to the new settings of press freedom and the phenomenon of the contradiction of public opinion in the era of internet accomplish the mediation of the opinion in a globalized society? Or still, starting from the presupposition of the press freedom, how to guarantee that the society solves the contradiction of the public opinion? The phenomenon of the public opinion is contradicting because it has in itself, at the same time, the universality of constitutional principles of Law and Ethics, together with the peculiarity of the citizens’ rights and concerns. This contradiction finds its solution by means of the mediation of the freedom of the press itself within a frame of democratic legality. This is the power of the contradiction: to put into effect the dialectic tension between the opposed poles of the universal and the particular in the press freedom, avowing the right of every citizen to express publicly his opinion. This is Hegel’s theory of public opinion: the press freedom and the parliament, as a politic space, are privileged spheres of the mediation of the contradictory phenomenon of the public opinion. Keywords: Press freedom; public opinion; press; citizen journalists.

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Agemir Bavaresco
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul

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