The Ideal Speech Situation
For Habermas, the public sphere is "a discursive arena that is home to citizen debate, deliberation, agreement and action (Villa 712)." Here individuals are able to freely share their views with one another in a process which closely resembles the true participatory democracy advocated for electronic networks.
Members of the public sphere must, however, adhere to certain rules for an 'ideal speech situation' to occur. They are:
1. Every subject with the competence to speak and act is allowed to take part in a discourse.
2a. Everyone is allowed to question any assertion whatever.
2b. Everyone is allowed to introduce any assertion whatever into the discourse.
2c. Everyone is allowed to express his attitudes, desires and needs.
3. No speaker may be prevented, by internal or external coercion, from exercising his rights as laid down in (1) and (2). ("Diskursethik," 86)