Talking about ‘public sphere’, people always think about a place where everyone with different ideas, cultures and opinions gather around to talk and discuss about some controversial issues in the world. Well, if you understand the phrase ‘public sphere’ in that way, it is not incorrect, but it is not enough.
According to what Jurgen Haburmas has said, ‘a public sphere’ can be understood as a place opened to all of the citizens to debate about common concerns and stays outside of the state control. People participating in the ‘public sphere’ are not buying and selling things or in other words, they are there for the needs to discuss, not for commercial purposes.
In the country where I come from, Vietnam, we have a show called ‘The people ask, the Ministers answer’ produced by the national channel ‘VTV’ which is, I believed, is a kind of examples about how the media has created a ‘public sphere’ for all of us.
The show is where every week there will be a Minister who takes the responsibilities in one specific field in the Vietnamese political apparatus answering all of the questions which the citizens have sent to the show. The show is a way for people to not only get in touch with the government or in other words, be always aware of what is going on in the country but also have a clearer look about how and why the government is doing this and this and this.
The show is a time for people to talk about the truths. Well, not all of the answers are the truths but in some ways, the Ministers have given the citizens a vision about the current concerns, how things are running and what they can or will do to control it. Personally I think this is a good way for both the Government and the citizens to have a connection to each other. The Government will know what the citizens want and vice versa the citizens have a chance to understand why the Government is acting like that. One interesting thing about this show is it is actually created what Jurgen Haburmas called: the public sphere. By discussing the national topics online through the show’s official website, the citizens have the opportunities to raise common concerns and the politicians bring it to consideration and give the people a broader side of the issue. Although all of the guests of the show are people working for the Government, the show is still independent from the Government and they have nothing to control over it, which is the thing that brings the show objectivity.