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Press Releases, 4/7/2017

Finland’s image in the world media improved slightly in 2016

Press release 62/2017
6 April 2017

The universal income experiment, the education system, Finland as a tourist destination and Nato membership are all examples of the top themes that attracted the attention of the world media in 2016 when it came to Finland. The findings are based on the annual ‘Finland in the World Media’ survey circulated to Finnish foreign missions.

Finland in the World Media is an annual review of the missions’ assessments of what content and news broke into foreign media and which of Finland’s strengths and weaknesses were covered in different countries’ media in the course of the year.

On the whole, Finland’s image in the foreign media remained positive. Finland was seen in a favourable light, sometimes even as a country worth emulating. Finland’s media visibility was deemed to have increased either slightly or clearly in 18 countries: Afghanistan, Argentina, Chile, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Singapore, Sweden and Tunisia.

On a scale of 1 to 5, Finland’s overall media score in 2016 was 3.88. The equivalent scores for 2015 and 2014 were 3.74 and 3.69, respectively.

“The survey offers interesting comparative data on the views and priorities of the media, highlighting the wide range of issues affected by the country image, starting with editorial choices. The role of Finns who have won international recognition and are in the public eye is really great, but the efforts of the Foreign Ministry, foreign missions, Visit Finland, Lapland and Helsinki City are clearly reflected in the outcome, as exemplified by the attention created by the Baby Box and Finnish sauna,” says Petra Theman, Director of the Unit for Public Diplomacy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

As earlier, education was highlighted as the single most prominent theme for which Finland is known. While Finland is no longer ranked first in the 2016 PISA scores, it is still often mentioned as a model country where education is extremely well organised. However, the reports are not as glowing as a few years ago and reference was also made to the fall in Finland’s ranking.

Aside from education, Finland gained visibility in the world media in 2016 on themes such as the welfare state, absence of corruption, the overall efficiency of society as well as overall high rankings in a range of areas. Of the individual themes, the greatest interest was generated by the universal income experiment: in the reports, Finland was hailed as a bold experimenter and pioneer.

Finland’s previously battered economic image seems to have improved, even though we still receive negative attention in some countries, notably Europe. In contrast, Finland’s reputation as a tourist destination is showing signs of improvement, particularly in Lapland. Finland’s high ranking in important tourism surveys brought extensive media visibility. At the same time, Slush, Rovio, the start-up spirit, cleantech and computer games as well as continued interest in Nokia help sustain Finland’s reputation as a high-tech country.

While the survey covers all media, the focus is very much on newspapers. The findings are based on the assessment made by Finland’s foreign missions and partly on paid media monitoring. Seventy-four of Finland’s 89 foreign missions responded to the survey. A selection of general assessments, missions’ views and direct media citations is presented in a summary that can be accessed by clicking here:

pdfFinland in world media 2016, summary (pdf, 40 pages, 1,8Mt)

Inquiries: Petra Theman, Director, Unit for Public Diplomacy, +358 295 351 558 and Harri Kilpi, Communications Coordinator, +358 295 351 342.

The Foreign Ministry's email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi.

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