Reviews by Finnish missions abroad show that innovative solutions to fight COVID-19 put Finland in the spotlight in the world media in 2020

Reviews by Finnish missions abroad show that innovative solutions to fight COVID-19 put Finland in the spotlight in the world media in 2020

According to Finland in the World Media, an annual survey commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the innovative management of the coronavirus pandemic was the most important theme connected to Finland last year. Other news in the world media highlighted the strengths of Finland’s country image: equality, high-quality education system and stable society. The review estimates that Finland’s general reputation has further improved in foreign media.

The coverage dedicated to the female-led government and Prime Minister Sanna Marin supported Finland’s reputation as an egalitarian country. Equality, education and a society that supports wellbeing raised Finland at the top in the UN Happiness Report for the third time, and this was widely covered in foreign media in 2020.

Finland in the World Media is an annual survey based on Finnish missions’ assessments of what topics related to Finland featured in foreign media and what strengths or weaknesses attracted media interest. “The review is an excellent tool for organisations engaged in promoting images of Finland, including the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Business Finland and cities and regions, for monitoring how their long-term efforts are reflected in the international media. Last year we focused on monitoring media coverage of Finland’s management of the coronavirus pandemic,” says Laura Kamras, Director of the Unit for Public Diplomacy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The media was interested in how the female-led government tackled the pandemic

Finland’s innovative response to the coronavirus pandemic made headlines in several countries. A new picture of Finland as an innovative nation spread in many countries, including the US media, where Finnish sniffer dogs featured in almost all major media outlets.

The female-led government continued to attract media attention, and Prime Minister Marin is estimated to be by far the most visible Finn in India, for example. Her public image is very positive, also in terms of how she is handling the coronavirus pandemic.

Finland is the happiest country in the world again

In 2020, Finland ranked first for the third consecutive year in the UN World Happiness Report. The Singapore media estimated that the keys to happiness in Finland include a good work-life balance, high level of trust, reliable and comprehensive social benefits, low level of corruption and well-functioning democratic system and state institutions.

Kamras reminds of the importance of the education system. “The high-quality education system is the most important recurring theme linked to Finland in the international media. Last year was no exception, but the coronavirus pandemic was reflected in the content. The media were impressed by the fast and smooth transition to home schooling and by how students were provided with the necessary equipment for distance learning.”

How was the review compiled?

Finland in the World Media followed all types of media, but the missions looked at print media particularly closely. The information is based on assessments submitted by Finnish missions abroad and, in the case of some countries, on externally sourced media monitoring reports. A total of 78 out of Finland’s 89 missions responded to the survey. General assessments, the missions’ views and direct media citations are presented in the attached summary.

Inquiries: Laura Kamras, Director of the Unit for Public Diplomacy, tel. +358 295 351 558, and Harri Kilpi, Communications Coordinator, tel. +358 295 351 342.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi.