In the previous chapters we have shown the many limits imposed on freedom of speech in democratic societies, emphasising the reasons for them and the contradictions they embody.

Until recently, this has taken place as a series of interventions within the framework of established forms of media. But in the last ten years or so this framework has been drastically altered by a process commonly designated as convergence between broadcasting and telecommunications,254 and by the advent of that new form of communication known as the Internet, which, without going into technical detail, is a means of turning instruments of interpersonal communications, typically the telephone network, into a means of expression of ideas that can reach a large number, predetermined or otherwise, of people. It was of course possible before the Internet to send a circular letter to a list of addresses or hand out leaflets to passers-by in the street, but these techniques were very limited in their reach and thus of marginal interest.