The information citizen has become a basic principle of modern democracy, however, it seems like only very few of us have actually engaged in the question of what it exactly means to be an informed citizen and more importantly, what an informed citizen means: Informed about what and by whom? These are pressing questions in contemporary society, not at least because the model of participatory democracy explicitly emphasizes the role of the informed citizen as a central one to a functioning democracy.
In the panel debate we will question this fundamental idea of being informed:
– Is the ideal of the informed citizen outdated in times of Facebook & Co.?
– How do modern information technologies support or prevent the possibilities to be informed?
– Is it just the individual responsibility of the citizen to stay informed?
– Or is it the responsibility of media and politicians?
Enlightenment and discussion
Rousseau was one of the first advocates of this type of democracy and he put a strong emphasis on the development of citizenship through collective discussion and education. In an age where we can witness a fundamental shift of information sources, e.g. from traditional newspaper to Facebook, the question of becoming informed has arguably reached new relevance. In the debate, we wish to explore these new means of communication and information seeking from a technical perspective. If being informed is such a pivotal element of democratic society, does it matter where we find the information? How do we practice the distribution and production of information channels, and how do we decide what kind of information is important to foster informed citizens?