Finland has a wide range of media.
Finland is one of the most democratic countries in the world, with a government that
respects freedom of everyone’s expression.
Freedom of the press has a long history in Finland. The first Freedom of Information Act was stated in 1766. Today, freedom of expression and access to information in Finland is guaranteed by the constitution. There is no censorship in the media.
Finland sets an example in the way it respects journalists and news media and protects them from judicial abuse. In 2010 the Finnish press was ranked as the freest in the world, along with the other Nordic countries, according to Freedom House. These countries also top the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Index 2010.
Freedom of expression is not only limited to the media. Every citizen has a right to information, the right to be heard and has a right to speak their mind. This right is not without liability. It is illegal for example to slander and blaspheme, as is the incitement of racial hatred.
Two basic tools in Finnish media policy are legislation and public subsidy. The Ministry of Transport and Communications oversees telecommunications; the operating licences for local radio and television.
Journalism in Finland is self-regulated by publishers and journalists. The Council for Mass Media (CMM) was established in 1968 by publishers and journalists in the field of mass communication. CMM interprets good professional practice and defends the freedom of speech and publication. CMM does not exercise legal jurisdiction.
Print is the largest branch of the media. There are about 200 newspapers with a combined distribution over 3 million. Most newspapers are bought on subscription and delivered to subscribers early in the morning.
There are over 3,000 magazines, over half of which appear once a week.
Finland has both public and privately owned commercial TV channels. Traditionally, all foreign programmes are subtitled (not dubbed) in Finnish or Swedish. The use of subtitles has improved Finnish literacy.
All TV broadcasts have been digitalised since 2007. Finland was among the first countries to digitalise its TV broadcast network.
YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, is a public-service limited company. YLE operates television and radio channels. The public considers YLE to be a reliable source of news and current affairs. In 2010 YLE TV1 was the most popular television channel in Finland. YLE programmes and content reach almost 95% of Finnish people.
YLE plays a major role in producing and presenting programmes dealing with national arts and education, and children's programmes. YLE's services to the public also cover special and minority groups. It is the authority for broadcasting public announcements.
YLE's operations are financed by television fees and programming carries no advertising.
Besides YLE there are privately owned commercial TV channels. All channels have their own news broadcasts.
86 per cent of Finns are Internet users. 75 per cent of households have Internet access.
Email, Internet banking and information searches for goods and services are the most common reasons for Internet use.
Most of the Internet connections are broadband connections. Broadband refers to data connections that enable effortless use of online content and services. In international statistics, the minimum speed for broadband connections is usually 256 kb/s. In Finland, the typical broadband connection speed is 2 Mb/s, which is significantly faster.
Since 2010, broadband access is included in basic communications services like telephone or postal services. A minimum data transfer speed of 1 Mb/s has been defined as a universal service. Telecom operators defined as universal service providers must be able to provide every permanent residence and business office with access to such a service at a reasonable price.
A future goal is to increase the coverage area of fast broadband connections.