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Finland’s World Press Reporter Emphasizes The Value And Importance Of Free Media

Finland’s World Press Reporter Emphasizes the Value and Importance of Free Media

In light of being the only World News Reporter under an assigned country for this year’s Model United Nations of the Far West 71st session, I decided to take a quick stroll down memory lane in appreciation of free media.

Today, the world knows Finland as a deeply Western country with strong partnerships, and a dedicated delegate role in the United Nations. It is a country admired for its free media and independent news, however, this was not always the case for Finland.

Finlandization, a term coined by Finland, describes a darker time in the country’s history. A time when “independence came at the cost of no small dose of self-censorship and foreign sway.”[1] Finlandization is the process by which one powerful country makes a weaker neighboring country refrain from opposing the former’s foreign policy rules while allowing it to keep its nominal independence and its own political system.[2] The term refers to the influence of the Soviet Union on Finland’s policies during the Cold War. These policies allowed Finland to maintain sovereignty while the Soviet Union influenced the government’s censorship.

This, of course, is no longer Finland’s history, but it serves as an important reminder of what it means to have free media and speech. Many of us, participating delegates, are extremely lucky to live in societies driven by free speech, media, and independent news. There is great value in free speech, especially today when the value of such is more pertinent than ever.

I hope to work with more delegate reporters from member states at future conferences who share a similar value for free media.

[1] Jason Horowitz, Finns Don’t Wish ‘Finlandization’ on Ukraine (or Anyone), The New York Times (2022)

[2] Kaplan, Robert D. (2015). Asia’s Cauldron. USA: Random House Trade Paperbacks. p. 26.

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