The nuclear waste debate tends to exhibit great differences depending on whether the discussion is taking place on the national level or at the local/regional locations where site investigations for a final repository are currently taking place. This project focuses on how this dissimilarity is represented in our mass media.
The media are both a forum and a force for opinion formation and have a central democratic function. The project takes a closer look at what role the media play, and will play, in the decision process concerning nuclear waste. The purpose is to analyze the opinion-forming role of the media at the national and local/regional level from the start of the site investigations (December 2001) up until the present (December 2005).
The projects theoretical approach can be described as discourse analytical. This approach is well suited for studying debates and critically examining language usage and how the power of words is wielded. Previous studies of opinion formation, the news media and journalism are also important tools in the analysis.
Method and implementation The local press as well as national newspapers are being examined. Popular television news broadcasts are also being studied. The method used to analyze the material is called content analysis. It can be described as a systematic way to study a large number of texts.
Expected results Besides sketching a picture of opinion formation by the media at the local and national level during the first four years of the site investigations, the purpose of the project is to develop an understanding of the impact and the democratic role of the media. This knowledge can be of value to all actors involved in the process including politicians, concerned citizens, experts and journalists.
Planned scientific publication The project will be presented in SKB:s Social Science Yearbook 2007 and in a Final Report that will be published at the beginning of 2007.