Media, Culture and Public Connection: Freedom of Information in “the Age of Big Data”
How is the freedom of information being used?

Aims and objectives - The MeCIn project

The aim of the research project is to answer the question of how Norwegian citizens connect to the public or choose not to.

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According to the Norwegian Constitution’s  §100, the state is obliged to facilitate for an open and enlightened public debate. This is also the principle objective in Norwegian media and cultural policies, where the purpose is to increase media diversity, stimulate political participation and debate as well as maintaining a public where most citizens can participate.

These aims – and the constitutional demands of democratic infrastructure – are built on a clear idea of the role of the citizen: Through the public, citizens should be informed about political matters, form their identity by encountering different views and perspectives and develop necessary skills in order to contribute in a democratic society. This requires freedom of speech, but also freedom of information: A right to access a diverse menu of political and moral ideas, esthetic content and cultural experiences. 

The project Media, Culture and Public Connection: Freedom of Information in “the Age of Big Data” (MeCIn) is studying how people in Norway experience and make use of their freedom of information, as well as the significance of media and cultural arenas in people’s public connection across sociocultural differences. The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway through the KULMEDIA-program from 2015-2019. 

The project combines a nationwide survey, interviews and media diaries with different methods for data collection online. The project aims to answer what types of media and cultural arenas that are significant to different groups in society. The project will in particular address citizens who do not connect to a broader public. 

Theoretically, the MeCIn project will connect sociological approaches to studies of media use and cultural practices with normative democratic theory. The research group will also contribute in regards to the ongoing ethical debate about the use of Internet data in studies of social phenomena.

The project is connected to the Research group for media use and audience studies at the University of Bergen and is a collaborative project with the Institute for Social Research, Oslo Metropolitan University and the University of Stavanger. 

Interested in more information about the project? Contact project leader Hallvard Moe.