Policy Initiatives to Support the Communicative Power of Citizens: Current Research?

The OII in collaboration with the UK Cabinet Office held a policy forum last December 2006, focused on the potential for new Internet and Web applications for better engaging the ‘Google generation’ in government and public policy. This led to a report which is available from the OII and attached here.


What, if anything, might governments do to facilitate the development of information and communication facilities that can better exploit public information resources to enhance the communicative power of citizens? In some ways, this idea harks back to efforts by the Clinton Administration to demonstrate the potential of the Web through public funding of a series of experients through the National Information Infrastructure initiative. New Internet developments, such as Web 2.0 applications, might well trigger new initiatives. There are a number of groups in the UK thinking about the better use and re-use of government information, such as the UK’s Advisory Committee on Public Information, and certainly much of the work of our own Oxford Internet Institute. But if you are doing work in his area, or know of research being done by others, please let me know.

For information about the Advisory Committee on Public Information, see:

One thought on “Policy Initiatives to Support the Communicative Power of Citizens: Current Research?

  1. There is a fundamental dimension in a communication facilities question: the mediation practices. In my master’s research at Universidade de São Paulo (Mediation in an Age of Network Reproducibility: Analysis of the journalistic coverage on the Brazilian Landless Rural Workers Movement and the Zapatista National Liberation Army in print newspapers and on the Internet”), I work with a very different reality of UK: the rural world of Brazil and Mexico, where the access to the Internet is a problem, and with societies violently divided. But the mediation is an important concept to think the others levels of communications in digital medias, also the research of the impact of the Internet and others networks on the structure of Communications (particularly, in cultural industry) and the emergence of users such as content producers (not mere consumers of the information generated by those groups). My focus is in journalism, but, I think, the mediation practices can be valid to the political process too.
    I make a comparison between the emerging media with the traditional vehicles of the cultural industry and with the means interdependence, while focusing on the polyphonic and polysemic practice of journalism and the new forms of mediation between the different cultural groups of Latin America. In other words, its purpose is to endeavor to understand to which extent digital means supplies possibilities to the journalist of a more dialogical and tolerant communication allowing for a spatial independence of the production and reception processes and for the hybridization of cultures without closing them in a given temporality. This questioning on the mediation practices deals with the transformations of the journalistic process, whereby the communication professional thinks as a mediator to qualify for the construction of the necessary bridges between distinct Latin American realities. In order to check this out, a printed paper clipping and an excerpt taken from the Internet were chosen on a given subject about the chain of actions of the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement and the Zapatista National Liberation Army. For this purpose, the journalistic coverage on the MST chain of actions and the EZLN was used to search the links between two culturally and socially different realities and identify the gaps to be filled by a journalistic work likely to constitute the narrative of contemporaneity and the dialogical mediation of digital information flows.

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