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Finland: Media welfare state in the digital era?

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The concept of media welfare state is a combination of the democratic corporatist media system and social democratic welfare state model, describing the distinctiveness of the Nordic countries and their media systems with four basic principles. Media welfare state is based on communication services understood as public goods, freedom from editorial interference, cultural policy and economic support for media pluralism as well as preference for consensual solutions involving cooperation between main stakeholders. However, identifying a joint media welfare state model in recent media and communication policy decisions made in Nordic countries on developing communication infrastructures, media delivery and universal access turns out to be difficult. During the last three decades, none of the four largest Nordic countries has strictly followed all the four principles. In most cases, Finland has ended up with different solutions than its Nordic neighbours and sometimes also in contradiction with the Media Welfare State model. There is evidence that the Nordic media markets have been losing their distinguishability over the years. But the main reason why the present-day Nordic countries do not fit into media welfare state model is that they no longer are welfare states ‐ not at least in the same fashion as they used to be. In Finland, this transition from the welfare state to the competition state has been more rapid and extensive than elsewhere in the Nordic region, partly because of its geopolitical position. The Finnish economy has also been exceptionally dependent on a single mobile technology corporation.

Keywords: Finland; Nordic media systems; digitalization; globalization; marketization; media and communications policy; media welfare state

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000123146254Tampere University

Publication date: June 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Digital Media and Policy (formerly known asĀ International Journal of Digital Television) aims to analyse and explain the socio-cultural, political, economic and technological questions surrounding digital media and address the policy issues facing regulators globally. This double-blind-peer-reviewed journal brings together and shares the work of academics, policy-makers and practitioners, offering lessons from one another's experience. Content is broad and varied, ranging from a mixture of critical work on technology, industry and regulatory convergence, to the emerging wider socio-cultural and political questions such as the application of online networks, the rise of cloud computing and the Internet of Things. We intend to examine critically emerging wider questions such as the role of 'digital citizens', the regulatory environment for the new platform industry and the role of state regulation in an increasingly global media industry.
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