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Is there place for distrust in a democracy?

Katju Holkieri |

Open Gov week in Finland discusses trust, migrants’ participation and brings people together at Open Government Fair

 

In Finland, we held our own Open Gov Week in March. Our biggest event was a fair that brought together the different actors of open government work to promote the work done in different areas to citizens and civil servants.

 

 

This event was a success, because it proved to be an excellent opportunity for different open government people to meet each other and further build trust between the different areas of open government work.

 

 

We also organised a trust workshop as part of our Open Gov Week in the beginning of March. The agenda concentrated on the issue of trust towards public institutions. What affects trust? What is the level of trust in Finland? On the one hand, trust is the glue that keeps society together, the oil that keeps the wheels of politics rolling; on the other hand, critical citizens can be the fuel of democracy.

 

 

How does the hybrid media environment affect trust? What about algorithm democracy and political trust? What is the role of the civil service in building trust in the political system? What about the trust of elites towards each other? These themes were discussed in a joint workshop with researchers and government. There is a lot of interesting research going (e.g Biases and Bubbles and Contre- pathways to political trust) in Finland. Cooperation will continue around the subject, as the theme of trust is a fundamental one in Finnish open government work. Concrete steps include a joint publication on trust, to be published before Finland takes its place as president of the European Union. This publication will be used to support public administration development discussions and work during the presidency.

 

 

Another event during the week also addressed trust – a workshop that discussed migrants’ participation. How can we best support those groups in the society, whose possibilities to participate are weaker? How can we develop different ways of participation to better answer the needs of these groups? Can they trust that participation possibilities are real? How and where can they find out about these possibilities in concrete situations, not just in theory? This work will continue through collecting good practices, taking up the issue in trainings, and increasing cooperation between those working in open government and those working on migration issues.