#HELSINKI2018 and education expertise raised Finland’s profile in world media in 2018
Finland was particularly widely featured in the world’s media due to the meeting between Trump and Putin in Helsinki. According to the results of the annual ‘Finland in the World Media’ survey, based on Finnish embassies’ and consulates’ reviews of their host countries’ media, other key topics of international interest included education expertise; equality; and the basic income experiment.
‘Finland in the World Media’ is based on the Finnish missions’ annual assessment of what content and news attracted media interest in their host countries and what strengths and weaknesses were featured in foreign media in the year under review.
In 2018, the meeting of US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on 16 July attracted exceptionally wide coverage in foreign media. Media representatives estimate that #HELSINKI2018 strengthened Finland’s role as an international mediator. It also increased Helsinki’s visibility as a tourist destination by promoting Finnish architecture, among other things. For many years in a row now, the Finnish education system has been the single most significant theme relating to Finland under discussion by the world’s media. This year, special focus was on Finland’s leading position as a country in terms of education expertise.
“The survey provides interesting information about the views and priorities presented in world media,” says Laura Kamras, director of the Foreign Ministry’s Unit for Public Diplomacy. “Finns who have made a successful career abroad play an important role in boosting Finland’s image. So do the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, its missions abroad, Visit Finland, and representatives of regions and cities, through such activities as inviting foreign journalists to visit Finland. Their articles then raise Finland’s reputation noticeably. In the year under review, #Helsinki2018 put Finland in the spotlight and strengthened our country’s image.”
“Last year, Finnishness attracted more attention than in previous years,” Laura Kamras adds. “Being ranked the happiest country in the world in the UN World Happiness Report 2018 sparked worldwide media interest in Finland, and in the factors contributing to happiness in the north. Finnish individuality also received attention. An interesting example of this is the Jingfen phenomenon, a term the Chinese use to describe people who love peace and space of their own. The survey paints a picture of Finland’s reputation abroad and helps to identify current topics under discussion where Finland is being mentioned.”
On a scale of 1 to 5 – from critical to ideal – Finland’s overall media attention score in 2018 was 4.07. The corresponding figures in 2017 and 2016 were 3.96 and 3.88, respectively.
As for Finnish culture, metal music and Finnish foods were topics that attracted special media attention. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs takes a strategic approach to communicating Finland’s country brand, and in 2018, metal music, which has gained exceptionally wide appeal, was showcased as a valuable and unique resource in the Ministry’s country branding campaign entitled Capital of Metal. Other individual themes of note included Finland’s reputation as a tourist destination, which continued to grow, and the country’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council, which highlighted our location in the Arctic region as well as our Arctic expertise.
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. Of Finland’s 89 foreign missions, 75 responded to the survey. A selection of general assessments, the missions’ own views, and direct media citations are presented in the summary.
Finland in the World Media 2018, summary (pdf, 41 pages, 8.3Mb)
Suomi maailman mediassa 2018, summary in Finnish (pdf, 41 pages, 10.1Mb)
Inquiries: Laura Kamras, Director of the Unit for Public Diplomacy, tel. +358 295 351 558, and Anna Romo, Communications Coordinator, tel. + 358 295 350 240
The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@example.org.