Thanks to the 100th anniversary of independent Finland, news about Finland hit headlines and the country featured in articles in world media more widely than usual. The results of the annual ‘Finland in the World Media’ survey, based on the missions' review of their host country media reveal that other topics that interested foreign readerships were, as before, the education system, the basic income experiment, and Finnish design.
'Finland in the World Media' is based on the missions’ annual review of what content and news hit the media in their host countries and what strengths and weaknesses were covered in the media in the course of the year.
The centenary of Finland's independence in 2017 attracted exceptionally strong media attention. Finland attracted attention in all parts of the world, with the most conspicuous growth in the United States, Germany, Japan, Great Britain and, as expected, above all in our neighbouring areas in Sweden, Estonia and Russia. Finnish Crazy Games in Australia, a city festival in Minsk, monuments lit up blue-and-white, and a number of other campaigns gathered plenty of local attention in the missions' host country media. Media attention scored the highest on the birthday week from 2 to 9 December, with over 2,600 articles on online world media only. It has been estimated that over 40 million people were reached during that week.
"The survey provided interesting information about the views and priorities of world media, highlighting also how images impact editorial choices. Finns who have gained a name and are well-known abroad play an important role, but the fact that various themes promoted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, its diplomatic and consular missions abroad, the Finland 100 Secretariat, Visit Finland, Lapland and the City of Helsinki were recognised is concrete evidence of their significant contribution,” says Petra Theman, Director of the Foreign Ministry's Unit for Public Diplomacy.
"Finland 100 served as intended both a bait and a tool to showcase Finland's strengths better than before. The stabbing attack in Turku and the True Finns Party's split into two, for example, were among the most challenging topics. It seems that Finnish companies remain in the shadow in international media attention," Petra Theman notes.
On the scale of 1 to 5 – from critical to idealised – Finland’s overall media attention score in 2017 was 3.96. The corresponding figures in 2016 and 2015 were 3.88 and 3.74 respectively.
As in the previous years, education was the single most prominent theme related to Finland discussed in world media. Finnish culture – both traditional and non-conventional – was praised in 2017 to an exceptional extent; hobbyhorses deserve to be mentioned in particular. Finland's brand as a tourist destination continues to attract attention especially in China. The basic income experiment was one of the topics that raised plenty of questions especially in European media.
The missions reviewed all media channels, but special attention was paid to Finland's visibility in newspapers. The information is based on the assessments of Finland's missions abroad and, in some countries, on outsourced media monitoring. Seventy-nine of Finland’s 89 foreign missions responded to the survey. A selection of general assessments, missions’ views and direct media citations are presented in the summary.
Inquiries: Petra Theman, Director, Unit for Public Diplomacy, tel. +358 295 351 558 and Harri Kilpi, Communications Coordinator, tel. +358 295 351 342.
The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are of the format email@example.com.