Recommendations for a Healthy Digital Public Sphere

Journal of Media Ethics 38 (2):80-92 (2023)
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As the multiple issues of the digital public sphere threaten our democracies and the cohesion of our societies, most attempts for a betterment of the digital networks and platforms revolve around a risk-response approach. This paper takes the opposite approach and develops a positive definition of the ideal ethical public sphere, combining normative features with original taxonomies. In view of defining common standards for a healthy digital public sphere, this paper offers an interdisciplinary literature review, and original recommendations, before discussing potential leverages for implementing these changes. The suggested ethical normative features derive from a positive approach to the digital public sphere, as ideal common standards. Sustained by the underlying assumption that the composite landscape of the media ecosystem and its different layers (networks, platforms, users) cannot be steered by government regulations alone, the normative (deontological) approach serves to understand and justify the need for a normative approach, to help envision new pathways for an ethical transformation.

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