Through a four year project funded by The Research Council of Norway, a group of media researchers will find out how citizens in Norway connect to, or disconnect from, the public.
§100 in the Norwegian Constitution requires that the state create conditions that facilitate open and enlightened public debate. The normative ideas embedded in this infrastructural responsibility guides Norwegian media and cultural policy, which aims to promote pluralism in content and expressions, stimulate broad participation in political and cultural discourse, and simultaneously uphold a public sphere that a majority of citizens can connect with. Fundamentally, these aims, and the infrastructural responsibility itself, rest on a specific idea of the users as citizens: Through the public sphere, users should be informed about political issues, form their identities in engagement with various forms of symbolic material, and develop the full capacity needed for democratic life. This requires freedom of speech, but, equally important, freedom of information, defined as the right to receive access to a varied menu of political, moral and aesthetic ideas as well as cultural experiences.
"Media Use, Culture and Public Connection: Freedom of Information in 'The Age of Big Data’" (MeCIn) researches how people in Norway exercise and experience their freedom of information, and what role media and culture have for people's relations to the public sphere - their public connection - across socio-cultural differences.
The project aims to find out which media matter for different user groups. Particular attention will be given to those who disconnect from the mainstream public sphere.