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ICT and local pubic sphere - the case of Poland and Norway

Abstract : In the age of common Internet usage, we cannot imagine administration and local governance development without modern view of their offer for citizens. Citizens do not demand only important data from the town hall or city life but they also look for quick and efficient way of dealing with their "small" cases. Moreover citizens, except concentration on the easy access to the public service, treat the Internet as the public debate space (e.g.: using social media as a discussion forum for local cases). Findings from the previous research confirm thesis about rapidly growing but still not enough developed e-services in Poland and on the contrary highly advanced process of ICT implementation in most of Norwegian communes. In those quite different "technologically" circumstances it is worth to check the effect of all modification of communication process on modern society (e.g.: for participation; debate; citizenship; partnership etc.). The most interesting seems to be analysis of positive and negative impact of the ICT on the local community and discussion about the idea of glocal public sphere. The main aim of the paper is finding answers to the following questions: How far do ICT change communication among local commune?; Is ICT being used as platform for local debate?; Is local participation being improved (or not) due to ICT? Do we have a new glocal public sphere? ICT and local identity - friends or enemies? Researchers still (Christensen & Aars, 2002, Rose, 2002, Baldersheim & Øgård, 2007, Torpe & Nielsen, 2004) argue that local politicians seldom engage in the implementation of Internet solutions in the community and that community networks are presented primarily as a provider of public services. The Internet most often constitutes support for politicians - especially in election campaigns, but still it is not the most important weapon. Politicians still give priority to the press, radio and television. Attempts to combine the benefits of ICT to the traditional media message has not been very successful, especially attempts to introduce an electronic platform for communication. Modalen (Modalen multimedia project) and Molde (D:MO project) stand out as evidence. The project introduced in Vestfold, however, turned out to be the only success. The project used communication through blogs to link politicians to their electorate. Its therefore worth considering whether the use of ICT technology strengthens either the role of government in local politics or politicians themselves? International studies seem to confirm this hypothesis and motivate it by the fact that the administration has a number of electronic tools that enable it to represent the interests of particular groups of people (Snellen, 2003; Pratchett, Wingfield & Polat, 2006). The feature of the Internet is the possibility of bilateral communication, which is interactive. In other words, the Internet is not only a medium of information, but it also offers a space for discussion and debate among people or entities that are physically far apart. Because of that the Internet is becoming a good tool for democratic participation. Hence, there are very high expectations on the consequences for democracy, by the introduction of this medium. When we look closer at the local governance across Europe we can clearly see that different ways of strengthening citizens' trust in local authorities and the creation of platforms of public dialogue are important factors that shape contemporary democracy. Local communities search for solutions that will help in realization the essential principles of community communication which are public trust and social dialogue. Both of those elements strengthen the sense of responsibility for the region what positively influences the quality of the local governance and all other institutions that create the local public sphere. In the XXIst century, century of the digital communication reign the above needs must be realized by creating a sufficient digital communication platforms. As the digitalization process has diverse course in different cultures so it is worth to do some comparative study. The author of this paper is trying to analyse how the power of ICT is used by local communities in countries of different economy and democracy level. Is it a big difference between them at this ground? Moreover due to this study we may also rise the idea of implementing some good practice from Norway (highly technologically developed country) into the countries of reborn democracies with rapidly growing technology as Poland. According to the general overview mentioned above the paper will try to present some local, digital initiatives being introduced in Poland and Norway such as: ecommune system (being implemented in different cities in Poland); regional information portals (eg. Malopolska Gate; Doba); local politicians blog (project in Vestfold); commune debate platform from Norway (e.g.: project in Molde) etc. Moreover discussing positive sides of ICT impact on the local public sphere it should be also taken into consideration some dangers being brought to the democracy by the new communication technologies as for example the case of: information manipulating; identity theft; recruitment cheating etc. which also would be discussed in the paper. The paper is divided into two parts: theoretical and analytical. At the theory part there are discussed different aspects of building glocal public sphere in local community and the analytical part is based on the description of the ICT initiatives driven from Poland and Norway. The paper is based on the qualitative, quantitative research and content analysis. For comparison, a survey has been carried out in Poland and in Norway. It analysed the case of Lower Silesia, Malopolska, Vestfold, Ostfold. This comparative study was prepared basing on: 1) interviews with politicians; clerks; journalists; entrepreneurs; 2) research reports; 4) statistics data.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 4:32:55 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-00840599, version 1



Ilona Biernacka-Ligieza. ICT and local pubic sphere - the case of Poland and Norway. Communiquer dans un monde de normes. L'information et la communication dans les enjeux contemporains de la " mondialisation "., Mar 2012, France. ⟨hal-00840599⟩



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