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KULMEDIA-Kultur- og mediesektoren

The datafication of communicative power: Towards an independent media policy for Norways digital infrastructures

Alternative title: Datafisering av kommunikativ makt: Mot en uavhengig mediepolitikk for Norges digitale infrastruktur

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

The project will map the digital infrastructure in Norway, the aim of which is to strengthen Norwegian deliberative society. The infrastructures on which media, democracy and public administration relies is increasingly reliant on digital structures dominated by international, private actors. Much of this infrastructure is hidden, dominated by big data logics, and commercially motivated. The project aims to uncover the actors, interests, and values affecting the system, in close collaboration with industry and policy makers. The project will result in concrete recommendations to ensure the infrastructure demand of §100 of the Norwegian constitution, the freedom of speech. The project thus contributes to strengthen UN Sustainable Development goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.

This project investigates how the digital media infrastructure impacts the distribution of communicative power in Norwegian society. The Digital Agenda for Norway (Meld.St. 27 (2015-2016)) aims to exploit ICTs to the best interest of society. However, the datafication of social, cultural, political and economic processes are built on modular and programmatic logics that rely on proprietary, private resources that are largely invisible. This project aims to uncover how actors, networks and value streams shape this infrastructure, how data influence decisions in the public interest, and how the platform ecology informs the media system that carries the information and debate that support democracy. The project mobilises a mix of methods including network analysis, interviews, case studies, ethnography and document analysis within a multi-theoretical framework combining institutional theory, science and technology studies and media industries perspectives to account for the shifting landscape under investigation. This will result in a first, comprehensive overview of the digital infrastructure in Norway. The project contributes to expand media industries research to include platforms and data, and shift the empirical basis on which policy is formed. Outcomes include an updateable infrastructure map, Guidelines for inclusion and a "Rights and Risks" poster to support digital literacy in the public, diversity measures of the multi-sided media platform ecology, and recommendations towards an inclusive, universal media policy. Results will inform policy and industry stakeholders’ insight into the infrastructure on which the Norwegian media sectors rely. The project thus addresses key societal challenges caused by the digitalisation of the communications infrastructure, providing insight into global processes and their effects on Norwegian democracy and society.

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KULMEDIA-Kultur- og mediesektoren

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