Saavutettavuudesta kriittiseen autonomiaan – vieraskieliset kuntavaaliviestinnän kohderyhmänä
From accessibility to critical autonomy – foreign language speakers as the target group of municipal election communication
Avainsanat:saavutettavuus, monikielisyys, demokratia, osallisuus
The article examines multilingual communication practices aimed at informing Finland’s foreign language speaking inhabitants on municipal elections and decision-making in the regional context of Joensuu. Our focus is on the availability and accessibility of relevant multilingual information and the potential of accessible information in developing a sense of democratic participation and critical autonomy among the immigrant population. The research is based on seven thematic interviews conducted after the 2021 municipal elections. All interviewees have experience in enabling the democratic participation of multilingual residents in Joensuu through their roles in civil service, politics, or local organizations. Poor accessibility of information has been identified as a reason for multilingual population’s low voting rates in previous research. The interview data reveal in detail what kinds of deficiencies can be identified across the components of usability, understandability, and social accessibility. The results also give insights into good practices and possible remedies.