Two University of Canberra research projects have collectively received more than $850,000 in funding as part of the Australian’s Research Council’s (ARC) 2021 Discovery Project scheme.
Researchers from the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at UC have been awarded $511,809 for their project, Democratic Resilience: The Public Sphere and Extremist Attacks, which looks into how different democracies respond to extremist attacks which intend to divide and instil distrust and fear in multicultural societies.
The funding will enable these researchers to undertake a systematic comparative study where they will compare the public sphere response to extremist attacks over the past two decades in six different democracies including Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
“We are interested in finding out what it is that makes some public spheres more resilient than others in the face of extremist threats,” said Associate Professor Selen Ercan.
“We are particularly interested in the challenges posed by violent far right and Islamist extremists, two groups with completely different political agendas, yet despite their ideological differences, share common aims, enemies and tactics and so represent a common threat to democracy and multiculturalism.”
UC’s researchers have partnered with others in Australia and overseas on the project, including Yale University, Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, Scuola Normale Superiore in Italy, the Australian National University, University of New South Wales and Victoria University Wellington.
Professor Sora Park from the News and Media Research Centre (N&MRC) at UC has been awarded $376,841 for her project, The rise of mistrust: Digital platforms and trust in news media, which aims to investigate how trust and mistrust in news changes audiences’ behaviours as they increasingly access news through digital platforms.
Observing the global crisis of trust, the project will undertake a longitudinal analysis of trust and mistrust in news, a four-country experiment that links trust and audience responses, and an in-depth qualitative study that provides specific contexts of these choices.
“Trust in news is such an important issue at the moment where the government, digital platforms and news media are all trying to combat fake news and ensure the delivery of quality information to news audiences,” said Dr Park.
“This study will answer many of the questions that we have today regarding the role of digital platforms such as Facebook and Google as well as legacy media”
The project is a partnership with the University of Oxford, Nanyang Technological University, Korea Press Foundation and Queensland University of Technology.