My Research in 2014

In 2014 I’ll retain research focus on my two main areas: information access and media accountability.

Close to half of Australia’s Freedom of Information (FOI) laws are now amended and updated (FOI 2.0). Preliminary findings from a study comparing Victoria’s 1982 law (FOI 1.0) with the federal amended law show that the users found it quicker and easier to access government held information using the new system. Thanks to funding from the Monash Arts Faculty, this research will be expanded in 2014 covering all Australian FOI regimes. The preliminary research also fed into an Australia Research Council (ARC) application for the 2015 round. In this project the research team at Monash and University of Queensland will be mapping what literacies (technological, civic, political, etc) are needed to fully utilize FOI 2.0.

The title of the second project is ‘Searching for new media accountability systems – press councils post Finkelstein and Leveson’. This is also an ARC 2015 proposal and aims to assess if the strengthening and changes to press councils in Australia and the UK have changed the way in which media owners and journalists are held to account for their practices. The project brings together researchers from Monash, Melbourne University and Birkbeck College (University of London) and combines the disciplines journalism studies, communications and law.

I’m also working on a book proposal for Routledge with a colleague at University of Queensland. The book will map the the evolution of access to information via FOI laws. FOI will be analysed from a political, social and economic perspective.

I’m a visiting research fellow with the Department of Journalism, Media and Communications at Goteborg university in Sweden from early May to the end end of June 2014. Among other things, I’ll then research the first chapter of the FOI book covering the grandfather of FOI the Finn Anders Chydenius who were instrumental in charting and passing the first FOI related law in the world in 1766 in Sweden. It’s a fascinating story. I’ll be spending some time at the Swedish parliamentary library handling parliamentary documents from 1760-1790  – quite exciting.