Report: Finland’s media policy lacks a citizen’s perspective

In comparison to the other Nordic countries, Finland has shortcomings in how the citizen's perspective is incorporated into the national media and communications policy. This is pinpointed by a study on media policy in Finland, in which the authors assert that the citizen's perspective should be strengthened through systematic assessment of the development in different policy areas.
 | 19 April 2018

The report The State of Media and Communications Policy and How to Measure It, published on 29th March, will serve as the foundation of a new national media policy programme.

The report was written by researchers at the universities of Tampere, Helsinki, Jyväskylä and Turku on assignment by the Ministry of Transport and Communications and in cooperation with actors in the media field.

A holistic view on media policy

The goal of the project was to conduct a transdisciplinary study, based on the social sciences, on current media policy questions in Finland using a holistic approach. The report does not, e.g., discuss public service media as separate from the other media structures.

Seven basic principles for media policy

The description of the current state of affairs is based on seven principles of media and communications policy, as presented by the researchers Robert Picard and Victor Pickard (2017).

The topics addressed in the report are thus:
1) citizens’ fundamental communication rights and media freedom;
2) access to media and communication services;
3) diversity in media structure and media content;
4) the protection of citizens and society;
5) media transparency;
6) economic and structural development of the media; and
7) equitable and effective communication policy decision-making.

The report also includes a Nordic comparison in which Finland’s media policy is juxtaposed with the latest media inquiry reports in Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

A model for measuring policy developments

Moreover, the report presents a model for monitoring the changes in the seven areas of Finnish media and communication politics. The authors suggest a framework with 26 variables and 52 indicators. Many of the indicators, however, require a foundation of knowledge that is not currently available. The researchers thus suggest a number of subareas in which the collection of data should be initiated.

According to the authors, one of the problems with the follow-up measures is that data related to media and communication are often collected only if commercial interests exist. If commercial secrets are included, collected data might remain non-public.

Work continues in the spring

During the spring, the themes of the study will be addressed by media industry representatives and interest groups from related fields, under the leadership of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The aim is to discuss the development trends, and particularly the necessary practical actions and policies. An open meeting will also be organized.

The media policy programme is to be completed by summer 2018.

Maarit Jaakkola

Topic :