Norms for the New Public Sphere is an AHRC-funded philosophy project that ran from 2019-2022. The project investigated the opportunities and challenges that new social media pose for deliberation in the public sphere, and developed a set of norms to underpin a media policy framework appropriate to the internet age.  The project focused on three core principles, asking how to understand them, their interactions and limitations, and their implications for a modern public sphere. These principles are: an epistemic value principle supporting acquisition and sharing of knowledge; a liberal self-government principle protecting equal participation rights, and constituting participants as a self-governing polity; and a principle requiring appropriate space for privacy.

The project members are: Rowan Cruft (Professor of Philosophy, University of Stirling), Fabienne Peter (Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick), Dr Jonathan Heawood (Project Senior Research Fellow and founding Chief Executive, IMPRESS), Dr Natalie Alana Ashton (Project Research Fellow, University of Stirling) and Dr Michele Giavazzi (Research Assistant, University of Warwick). The project had a partnership with Doteveryone, a think-tank ‘championing responsible tech for a fairer future’.

Following completion of the project in 2022, we are now working on new, related research on the democratic function of media and of expertise. The final report from our project was published in September 2022.