Media Education Forum highlighted the need for media education and its relevance

The Media Education Forum on 28 May brought together once again the diverse Finnish field of media education to focus on current media education topics. Discussions took place in the auditorium, remotely, in working groups and on the digital wall.  This year’s contributions focused on well-being, inclusion and news coverage in media. In addition to the well-being theme, the workshops continued with the creative application of media education models and the implementation of the National Media Education Guidelines.

Media education for well-being, inclusion and democracy

This year’s Media Education Forum started with a welcome address by the Minister of Science and Culture, Sari Multala, who highlighted the role of a diverse and high quality media education as a building block for democracy.  The Minister also referred to the international interest in our country’s media literacy work. The Minister expressed her concern about the recent results of media use surveys among young people and recalled the importance of new legislation, referring to the Digital Services Act, without forgetting the role of parents and adults. The Minister also noted that media use brings joy to people. 

The Minister’s introduction serves also as a justification for the importance of compiling and publishing the new collection of articles, Mediakasvatus hyvinvoinnin ja osallisuuden tukena (Media Education for Well-being and Inclusion), at the Forum. Four of the authors were present to discuss the themes of the book: media education expert Rauna Rahja from Mannerheim League for Child Welfare and senior expert Tiina Etelämäki from the Finnish Federation for the Elderly, we heard about the themes of inclusion and well-being for both children and young people and senior citizens. Researcher Kaisu Hynnä-Granberg from the University of Turku has studied body image and vulnerability of young people. In this context, media education appears as a kind of nurturing practice. Researcher Jaana Rahko from the University of Vaasa brought a financial literacy perspective to the topic.

Empathy in the midst of conflict  

The keynote speaker was veteran journalist Rauli Virtanen, who drew on his experiences in various world conflicts dating back to the 1970s. Among other things, Virtanen drew the audience’s attention to the way in which various conflicts appear and disappear from our news horizon, so that we do not always know the follow-up to the issue that briefly captures our attention. Virtanen also discussed how to maintain the capacity for empathy in the midst of the world’s disaster news. 

Workshops and a programme of round tables

In spite of interesting lectures, for many Forum regulars, it is the afternoon with workshops that is the best and most interesting part of the day. Workshop topics covered recent survey results on media use among young people, creative application of media education models, and what is already good in media education in our country and what needs to be improved. A workshop on this last topic was also organised for remote participants. 

The results of the workshops will be published later and, as before, the discussions at the Forum will influence the priorities and actions of KAVI’s media education work. 

However, for most of the participants, media education is not their main job, but only a small part of everything else they do. Thus, the discussions at the Forum help to clarify everyone’s own perspective on media education. The sheer number of background organisations of the participants gives an idea of how many of them have a job description that touches on media education issues. Participants represent organisations, associations, educational institutions, agencies and libraries, among others. They include representatives of the media sector as well as educational and training developers. The Media Education Forum is a celebration of the richness of the media education field in Finland.

For more information on the Media Education Forum, please contact us:
Leena Pylkkö, Communications Planner  

Photo by Ville Sohn, KAVI