For many years now, public institutions have been suffering from a crisis of legitimacy that afflicts all Western democracies but is particularly acute in Italy. To overcome this crisis, communications are of primary importance, as a way not only of conveying messages from the institutions to the public, but also of sharing and reaching agreement about their contents in a two-way exchange that should take place as far as possible in the form of dialogue and in conditions of parity. On the other hand, the process of "opening up the institutions", giving them a greater propensity to dialogue and to recognise the public as partners in that dialogue, rather than as the recipients of messages, may also produce tensions and generate contradictory dynamics. In addition to this, the spread of open, inclusive and continuous methods of communicating constitutes part of a broader process of structural transformation of the functioning and normative conception of public administrations, in the sense that they are moving away from Weber’s classical model and towards a conception that is certainly better suited to meeting the challenges of complexity, albeit also less clearly anchored in democratic theory.
Keywords: Public communications, Democracy, Mass media, Internet, Political institutions, Public administration