Finnish municipalities are well placed to provide media literacy opportunities

A recent study examined the current state of media education in Finnish municipalities. It revealed many strengths, such as the role of libraries and the systematic approach to promoting media literacy among children and young people. The study also identified areas where there are clear weaknesses.

Focus on management

Many municipalities have invested in developing media education in recent years. It was therefore important to understand municipalities’ media education activities, challenges and good practices in promoting media education, and the views of municipal actors regarding media education management. The aim was neither to evaluate nor compare, but to focus on practices of cross-governance and management of media education.

For the study, almost thirty officials in eight municipalities of different sizes and in different parts of Finland were interviewed in groups. The study was carried out co-operatively by the Cultural Policy Research Centre Cupore and the National Audiovisual Institute KAVI.

Strategies bring equality to media education practices

In the municipalities surveyed, media education is largely established as part of the work of the education and cultural departments. Media education has been particularly strongly taken into account in early childhood education, basic education and libraries, and there is also regular and planned cooperation between these actors.

However, media education is not always implemented equally and practices vary. Corrective measures are needed, particularly in terms of management and structures. Media education and media literacy could be more strongly reflected in local authority strategies.

The study also showed that although municipalities recognise the importance of media literacy for adults, there are few systematic measures to promote it. Citizens would also benefit from stronger links between the municipal education sector and the welfare sector.

The full report in Finnish was published in The Media Education Forum on 23 May 2023. The extended abstract is available in English.

For more information on the research, contact KAVI’s experts on media education.