Net Neutrality from a Public Sphere Perspective

  • Francesca Musiani
  • Maria Löblich


The Internet impacts social communication and the public sphere, and this impact has consequences for the political shape of the communication order—therefore, for society as a whole. One important question in this regard is which regulatory framework is being developed for the Internet, and how this framework enables and at the same time restricts communication in the public sphere. Net neutrality is at the very core of this question: distribution channels can be used as a means to discriminate, control, and prevent communication. In other words, content and user behavior can be controlled through the architecture of the physical layer and the “code” layer of the Internet. The discussion on net neutrality touches fundamental values (public interest, freedom of expression, freedom of the media, and free flow of information), that communications policy authorities in liberal democracies frequently appeal to in order to legitimize their interventions in media systems. The implementation of these values, from a normative point of view, is seen as the precondition for media to create the public sphere—be it online or offline—and thus fulfill its function in society (Napoli 2001).


Public Sphere Content Provider Internet Service Provider Network Neutrality Hate Speech 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesca Musiani
    • 1
  • Maria Löblich
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Communication Sciences (CNRS/Paris-Sorbonne/UPMC)ParisFrance
  2. 2.Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität of MunichMunichGermany

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