Media literacy is promoted through media education. There is a long-standing tradition of media education in Finland, and it is carried out by many different kinds of organisations either as part of their main work, or through various projects.
Media literacy is mainly promoted by agencies under the Ministry of Education and Culture, but media education is also part of the work of other ministries. You can read a more detailed explanation of the government’s work from page 37 onwards in the Media Education Policy.
The Ministry of Education and Culture supports the promotion of media literacy through resource and information management. The Ministry is also responsible for updating the legislation relating to this area. Within the administrative branch of the Ministry of Education and Culture, promoting media literacy is a content area which relates to several different policy areas. The area of cultural policy has been supporting the development of media literacy e.g. through grants aimed at national media education projects (website only in Finnish) for more than ten years. The Department of Art and Culture Policy is also responsible for promoting media literacy at EU level as part of the EU’s audiovisual media policy.
The National Audiovisual Institute is the only government authority in Finland with a statutory (in Finnish) duty to promote media education. Media education is promoted by the Department for Media Education and Audiovisual Programmes (MEKU). In addition to the Media Literacy in Finland website, KAVI also maintains the School for Media Literacy (in Finnish), which offers a large variety of different materials and courses to support media education. KAVI has YouTube channels for both children and young people (in Finnish) and professionals. Media literacy is also promoted during the annual Media Literacy Week, National Games Week (in Finnish) and the Media education forum (in Finnish).
Media education is carried out by the following government authorities, among others:
In Finland, numerous organisations and associations promote media literacy. Some organisations have media literacy and media education as part of their main job description, but most of them treat these topics as part of their other work. To name some of the key actors:
- Finnish Society on Media Education
- Metka Center for Media Education
- Mannerheim League for Child Welfare
- Save the Children
- School Cinema Association
- Suomen vanhempainliitto (in Finnish)
- The Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation
- Finnish Pensioners’ Federation
- The Finnish Association for the Welfare of Older People
- Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention
- Finnish Information Society Development Centre
- Finlandssvenskt filmcentrum (in Swedish)
- The Guides and Scouts of Finland
More organisations that promote media education can be found among the partners of the Media Literacy Week.
If you want your organisation to be added to this list, please let us know using this form (in Finnish).
Media literacy and media education is included in the guiding documents for the teaching throughout the educational journey. Education providers, local curricula, early childhood education communities and individual professionals are responsible for carrying out the media education in practise.
- In the National Curriculum Guidelines for Early Childhood Education and Care (2022), media literacy has been included as a special section of the learning area Me and our community. Goals which promote media literacy have also been included in the transversal competence for multiliteracy and digital skills.
- In the National Curriculum Guidelines for early childhood education and basic education, media literacy is included in multiliteracy and is also related to transversal competence in information and communications technology. In basic education, media literacy is included in all learning areas, learning modules and subjects. Topics related to media literacy are particularly present in the subject of Finnish/Swedish and literature, religious, ethical and social studies, and art.
- The National Curriculum Guidelines for basic education for adults from 2017 includes media education in all subjects.
Media literacy has been included in the National Curriculum Guidelines for upper secondary education. In terms of transversal competence, media literacy is particularly related to interactional competence, multidisciplinary and creative competence, as well as social, global and cultural competence. In terms of subjects, media skills are particularly important in Finnish/Swedish and literature, art, history, social studies and studies in different religions. At some schools, students can also carry out an upper secondary diploma in media (2 credits).
In vocational education, media literacy goals are included in the module on communication and interactional competence, which is part of the core subjects included in vocational upper secondary qualifications. In addition to the core subjects, the vocational subjects in some degrees also develop deeper media skills. Examples of these are the Vocational Qualification in Media and Visual Expression, and the Further vocational qualification in Media and Specialist vocational qualification in Media.
Media literacy is promoted in different ways through youth work. The Ministry of Education and Culture support skills and collaboration in the provision of information and advice for young people, digital youth work and digital youth activities, and strengthens the basis of knowledge related to young people by allocating resources to organisations carrying out media education. In youth policy, there are also general grants awarded to national organisations carrying out youth work, which includes some of the main media education organisations such as the Finnish Society on Media Education. Special grants are awarded to municipalities and communities for carrying out media education projects. These projects have promoted young people’s media literacy skills and preparedness for the information society, but also strengthened youth workers’ media education competence and highlighted the importance of media education as part of basic youth work and youth activities.
One of the main national organisations in the field of media education is the Centre of Expertise for Digital Youth Work, which is made up of Verke, administered by the City of Helsinki, and Koordinaatti, administered by the City of Oulu.
Out of the ten Finnish universities offering studies in culture, art, communications or pedagogy, three provide continuous research and teaching in media education. Media education can be studied as a major subject on bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level at the University of Lapland. Tampere University has a multidisciplinary programme in media studies, Teaching, Learning and Media Education, which is split into two postgraduate programmes after the bachelor’s level: Media, culture and society, and the English-language programme Game Studies. Tampere University and the University of Lapland have a professorship of media education. The University of Helsinki regularly offers a module in the basics of media education, Foundations of Media Education, and it also offers doctoral education in media education. At other universities, the studies in media education usually consist of individual courses in different disciplines depending on the university, or the topics may have been integrated into other courses.
A few universities carry out education, research and development activities in the field of media education at a separate unit or department. The University of Lapland has the Media Education Hub, a teaching and research unit focused on media education, while the University of Tampere has Comet, the Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication.
Media education is also included in the courses offered at several universities of applied sciences as individual courses or course packages. From a media education perspective, the main organisations carrying out research in addition to the universities are the Finnish Youth Research Network and the Center for Cultural Policy Research Cupore. Universities also offer seminars, exhibitions and events on media education which are open to the public.
Public libraries are a uniquely wide-ranging service in that they can reach people of all ages. In addition to books, libraries give access to many kinds of media both in the physical library and online. There is a long-standing tradition of media education in libraries, and this was strengthened by the Public Libraries Act, which entered into force in the beginning of 2017. The Act defines the promotion of varied literacy skills as one of the aims of the libraries. Libraries also promote the population’s equal access to learning and culture, and give them opportunities of lifelong learning and active citizenship.
Media education in libraries relates to information services, directing information retrieval, and guiding the use of the library’s varied collections in a way that suits different age groups. Many libraries also offer access to different kinds of digital devices, such as 3D printers.
Regional development libraries keep their staff members’ media education skills fresh by organising training and internal co-operation networks. Many municipalities already have a collaboration plan between the library and the school. When media literacy is seen as on of the libraries’ basic services, this is also reflected in the employees’ job descriptions and duties.
Media education is also part of the varied professional activities of museum employees. Museums develop and share ways of creating and experiencing our cultural heritage, also in digital format. One of the museums’ important duties is to promote the opening, accessibility and usability of cultural heritage materials.
Many museums offer different kinds of virtual tours either on their own websites or as part of the Finnish Museums Association’s Museum without walls service. Naturally, the work of museums is also important
Among companies in the media sector, the Finnish Broadcasting Company has been engaged in long-term work to promote media education by actively producing media education material for its website. Other media companies and editorial offices also do a lot of journalism education as part of their basic work, mainly aimed at children and young people. Another example is how news media are more likely to explain their journalistic choices to their readers and talk about the principles of responsible journalism and how journalism differs from other kinds of content.
Many businesses in the media sector are also actively promoting media literacy. As an example, some TV channels have supported the media education work by showing media education videos for free as part of their programmes.
The private sector
For many years, businesses offering online services and platforms as well as gaming companies have taken part in the work to promote media literacy. This can take many forms, such as sharing information about media education on their own platforms, supporting media education financially, or participating in joint campaigns.
Liberal adult education
Liberal adult education facilities, such as adult education centres, folk high schools, summer universities and study centres, offer opportunities for independent learning and the development of civic skills such as media literacy. There can be specific modules for media literacy, or it can be included in another module.
Different religious communities also offer media education e.g. as part of their work with children and young people.
Collaboration is the best way to promote media literacy, and networks are efficient places for sharing information and working together. The networks mostly work and keep in touch via social media.
- European Commission Media Literacy Expert Group
- European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA)
- EPRA Media and Information Literacy Task Force (EMIL)
- Insafe network
- UNESCO Media and Information Literacy work
- Media and Learning Association (including TeaMLit)
- European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO)
- Inclusive and Creative Media Education (ICME)
- Better Internet for Kids strategy (2022) »
- Council conclusions on media literacy in an ever-changing world »
- Digital Services Act »
- Audiovisuaalisia mediapalveluja koskeva direktiivi (AVMSD) »
- EU strategy for a more effective fight against child sexual abuse»
- Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027»