Digital information literacy as a modern civic skill – a Finnish perspective – WS 02 2023

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20 June 2023 | 12:15 - 13:15 EEST | Auditorium A1 | Video recording | Transcript
Consolidated programme 2023 overview / Workshop 2

Proposals: #7 #9 #27 #32 #33

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Session teaser

Finland is frequently hailed as a global forerunner in digital information literacy and finding remedies to counter misleading information. Is this still the case?

Session description

Finland is frequently hailed as a global forerunner in information literacy and finding remedies to counter misleading information.

Is this still the case, especially regarding digital information literacy? What has Finland done and what should it do in the future? What has worked and where does Finland have room to improve? What lessons can be learned?

These are important questions in today’s information landscape, where everyone has become the target to false or misleading information. If we are not able to counter this issue, the future of democracy is at stake.

Don’t miss this important workshop.


1. Opening remarks
2. Speakers, five minutes each
3. Discussion
4. Conclusions and closing remarks

The audience is encouraged to actively participate in the discussion, with comments, points of view regarding the topic and questions to the speakers.

Further reading

Digital information literacy guide published by Faktabaari, as part of the European EDMO NORDIS project that promotes digital information literacy and counters disinformation. The authors of the guide include a variety of experts from Faktabaari, University of Helsinki and Sitra – The Finnish Innovation Fund, among others.

Reuter's Digital News Report 2023



  • Jörn Erbguth
  • Minda Moreira

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Focal Point

  • Pekka Kanerva

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Organising Team (Org Team) List Org Team members here as they sign up.

  • Amali De Silva-Mitchell
  • Oliana Sula
  • Mikko Salo
  • Abdullahahmet Kaynar

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Key Participants (speakers)

  • Reijo Kupiainen, Tampere University
    • PhD, Media Education
    • Member of the CRITICAL Project, supporting children’s and adolescents’ critical reading skills, carried out by a multidisciplinary team from four leading Finnish universities
    • University Lecturer of Media Education, Tampere University. Adjunct Professor of Media Education, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
    • Reijo’s research has focused on media literacy, media education, children and the Internet, visual culture.
  • Minna Aslama Horowitz, University of Helsinki
    • Minna Aslama Horowitz is a Docent at the University of Helsinki. She is affiliated with the research consortium the Democratic Epistemic Capacities in the Age of Algorithms (DECA); the Nordic Observatory for Digital Media and Information Disorders (NORDIS); and a think tank of the Nordic Council of Ministers addressing platform power. She is a Fellow at the Media and Journalism Research Centre and St. John’s University, New York.
  • Heikki Lauha, Sitra - The Finnish Innovation Fund
    • Master of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki
    • Specialist at Sitra (The Finnish Innovation Fund), in the Digital Power and Democracy project. The project produces information on new forms of digital power and enables people to make a difference in matters that are important to them, for example through improved information literacy.
  • Pekka Kanerva, Faktabaari (see moderator description)


  • Pekka Kanerva, Faktabaari (speaker and workshop moderator)
    • MSc (Econ), Aalto University, Helsinki
    • Member of Faktabaari, leading Finnish organization on fact checking and digital information literacy
    • Public speaking and presentation skills coach, and adviser on countering hate speech
    • Twenty years international business career in targeted marketing operations and technology, with multiple international marketing awards

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Rapporteur: Francesco Vecchi, United Nations University – CRIS

  1. Finnish CRITICAL Project
    In Finland, the CRITICAL project includes media literacy (i.e. digital literacy in education) for students and teachers in curricula from early childhood, as stated in the 2013-2016 Finnish Media Literacy National Policy Guidelines. However, though some organisations dealing with fact-checking and networking are playing a crucial role in fighting back the threats of disinformation and trolling (e.g. Faktabaari), the lack of critical literacy skills is still to be tackled since information literacy is essential for fair opportunities.
  2. Safeguard of Individual Autonomy in the Internet:
    Democracy is undermined by media and digital power monopolies, the threats of disinformation and polarisation, as well as the lack of transparency and accountability in data collection for economic purposes. This context requires safeguarding the concept of individual autonomy by enhancing citizens’ digital literacy and education, and by integrating digital competencies with ethical, social and cultural dimensions.
  3. Culture in Digital Information Literacy:
    To face the current multi-crisis world, it is paramount to provide universal epistemic rights and to secure trust at three levels: in basic societal functions and structures, in knowledge organisations, and between individuals. This aim can be achieved by improving culture’s role in Digital Information Literacy, to foster critical dialogue, empathy, and tolerance, while looking for a balance between innovation and regulation. Individual, social and political levels must be taken into account when shaping protection policies, as well as avoiding epistemic violence to pursue a pluralistic society.

Video record


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>> PEKKA KANERVA: Okay. I think I would like to wait for a couple of minutes, like two minutes, so that the rest of the audience gets the chance to settle in and also those who are not yet here get the chance to enter the room.

Okay. Shall we start?

So warmly welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to this session, this workshop, which is titled “Digital Information Literacy As a Modern Civic Skill – a Finnish Perspective.”

And this is a session which will last for one hour, and I’m going to start by begin – start by explaining what we’re going to do within this one hour.

First, I would like to do a raise of hands both here in the room and also online, if you can raise your hands in the Zoom. I have two questions. The first one is: How much people in the audience do we have from Finland?

(Show of hands).

Definitely, the majority of the folks here in the room have traveled from somewhere else to the beautiful city of Tampere. How about online. How many hands do we see there from Finland?

>> There were four or something.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Okay. And how many people – who is – who has traveled from abroad? Who is participating from abroad online?

Okay. I can clearly see the majority of our audience is international, which is great.

Exactly. Exactly. Welcome.

Okay. So my name is Pekka Kanerva. I’m the host of this session. And what we’re going to do today is basically three things. We have – first, we have four different speakers who are experts in the area of the topic that we’re going to talk about today.

The second thing we’re going to do is in the spirit of interaction and audience participation, we are going to have this discussion with comments, questions, conversation, from the audience with the audience, by the audience.

And the third thing we are going to do at the end, we will do a summary of what we discussed and what we will pass forward from this session. How does this sound? Okay. All right.

So I guess first question that’s really – it’s our title for today, is quite long, and what is digital information literacy? I’m going to quote a definition of digital information literacy from this beautiful guide that was published recently about digital information literacy and here is what it says. Digital information literacy is the ability to access, to manage, to understand, to integrate, community evaluate, create, and disseminate information safely and appropriately through digital technologies. It includes competencies that are variously referred to as information literacy or media literacy, computer literacy, ICT literacy, and also an ability to understand the functioning of the digital information landscape in general.

And finally, digital information literacy involves a dimension of active – active and civic engagement with the digital world and promotes active citizenship. And I think these final words are something that really resonate with the topic of this three-day event that we are celebrating here in Tampere.

So having said that – and by the way, this guide is something that is really worth reading. It’s produced and financed together by the European Union, and Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, and something called NORDIS. And NORDIS is something that is such a long word that I need to read to you where it comes from.

It’s the Nordic Observatory for Digital Media and Information Disorders. It’s part of the network that is not only here in Finland, but internationally working on these same issues. And this splendid guide, by the way, is probably worth more than 100 Euros, but today you as participants who came here can get it for 20 Euros. No, I’m joking. You can get it for free. At the end of the session, you can see we have a pile of these guides. One pile is in English and the other is in Finnish language. And so you can choose one of those, okay, for free. Only for you.

All right.

One thing I still wanted to mention about in guide, the chief editor of this guide is actually online today with us. He’s called Mr. Kari Kivinen, and I hope he will have a chance to talk online during this session today. So I’m expecting that we will have the chance to hear Kari here as well today.

So who are the speakers today? We have four speakers, as mentioned, three of us are here present locally and one of us is participating remotely. The first speaker will be myself. So I have a double role as the moderator and a speak.

The second speaker is Reijo Kupiainen, from Tampere University. The third speaker is Ms. Heikki Lauha from Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, and the fourth speaker is Minna Aslama Horowitz from University of Helsinki. It’s a quite splendid group of people. I’m not talking about myself, but these other folks, I can guarantee you, it’s worth listening to them.

Okay. Now, I guess it’s time to start with the first part of our session, which is the speakers delivering their notes and the first one happens to be myself. So I have the honor of having Reijo to present me so I don’t have to do it.

So, please, Reijo.

>> REIJO KUPIAINEN: Pekka Kanerva is a public speaking and speech coach. And advisor to countering hate speech. He has worked with the association of Finnish lawyers. Pekka has previously done 20 years international business career in running targeted marketing operations and achieved multiple international marketing awards.

Pekka is also associated with Faktabaari, the leading Finnish organization of fact checking and digital information literacy. The floor is yours, Pekka.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Thank you, Reijo.

Let me take you to downtown Helsinki, a couple of years ago. A street called Boulevard which some Finnish folks will recognize. It’s really at the center of Helsinki. It was first time – a summer evening, the first time in my life that I was walking on the street accompanied by bodyguards. Actually, two bodyguards. It was not because of me, but it was because of this book.

So I had been in the publication events called Jessikka Aro and this is called “Putin’s Trolls.” It tells about a factory in St. Petersburg that we probably all know has been involved in, for example, election meddling in the United States. This book is about the influence operations that Putin’s Russia has conducted in Finland.

And something that we have seen is that even though the group of people who did these things in Finland, either from the Russian operators or some Finnish sympathizers, whether paid or not, they were not so many people, but they actually caused a lot of damage here.

Another thing to note is that 24th of February last year, the effects that these folks were able to cause was much smaller.

It became much smaller because suddenly this fog that they created, everybody could see what it was about. It was about war. Now, contrast this, at the same street or the same corner, I ran into the CEO of Nokia. That company at the time was probably the most important technology company in Europe. He had no bodyguards with him. So that’s the kind of change in the Finnish society that we have seen recently.

Okay. Now, what I would like to highlight with this story is that first of all, some good things have happened. Jessikka Aro won her trial against the persecutors who were harassing her.

Secondly, despite the tremendous pressure she prevailed. And thirdly, the fact that also it’s not just the Army, the tanks and the planes and the guns that are defending our democratic society, but it’s also these brave women who are doing communications and helping defend our democracy in those ways. I could mention a couple of other female heroes briefly, one of them would be Sarah Yartonin, a doctor in military sciences who wrote a classic book with Russian information war, almost ten years ago already.

And a third one would be a journalist called Johan Novenko who is a professor at Tampere University. All of them had their trials against people who were harassing them. All of them won the trials. All of them prevailed and I think all of them are worth more than a division of the German tanks.


Leading to Faktabaari, the leading Finnish fact checking organization, with which I’m also associated. Faktabaari does in a simplified way three different things. They are the oldest and best known and most effective fact checking organization in Finland since 2014.

The second thing they do is enhancing, promoting, digital information literacy, for example by this guide. And the third thing they do is networking because it’s a small organization with limited resources but by networking, are they are able to multiply their resources and effectiveness in the society, both in Finland as well as internationally. That’s why we are also at this moment, I think we are more focusing on internal challenges regarding information literacy, for example, polarization, issues with social media, populism et cetera.

I would like to pass the word to the second speaker, who is Reijo Kupiainen, and I will present him right now.

So Reijo comes from Tampere University, from right here. He has a Ph.D. in media education. He’s a member of the CRITICAL Project, a project called CRITICAL, which supports children – children’s and adolescent critical reading skills carried out from a multidisciplinary team from four different Finnish universities.

He’s also a university lecturer of media education at Tampere University, and also an adjunct professor of media education at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

In addition, worth mentioning is that Reijo’s research has focused on media literacy, children and the Internet and visual culture.

So with this, Reijo, please, the floor is yours.

>> REIJO KUPIAINEN: Thank you. And thank you for inviting me for this really interesting conference. So first of all, I need to say that this is actually the auditorium where I have been lecturing media literacy in digital society for, for example, this year in the wintertime with 300 students here. Actually, they were not all present here, because the lectures were also recorded.

But anyway, all of our students in the education field were actually listening about media literacy and digital society. And it was really interesting to speak about these issues. And today, I will also talk from the perspective of schools and education, because as now know, I’m working the field of teacher education.

So first of all, I think that media literacy as we call it. Of course, we have plenty of different concepts that we can use digital information leader, media literacy, digital literacy, but in the education field usually we use media literacy. And it has been taken quite seriously in the education field in Finland. For example, our curricula starting from the early childhood education and care, they all include media literacy in one way or the other in the curricula.

In our national core curricula for basic education, it’s under the concept of multi-literacy, and it includes media literacy and digital information literacy. It’s transversal and we have seven different so called transversal competence areas, and these – and the aim of these areas are to strengthen especially people’s citizenship. It’s not only the technical skill but something that belongs to the citizens.

We also have important initiatives in Finland, for example, one that has to be usually mentioned is the 2013 published media literacy national policy guidelines that was launched by Ministry of Education and culture. It’s the kind of document for, especially what leads to good media literacy policies in Finland. And I read something from the guidelines, it includes four important topics, the first one is that everyday media education is child and adolescent center and of high quality.

The second one is that sustainable structures promoting media literacy are achieved through resources and national and local level theory. Third one is activities and various stakeholders in media education profile, those networks are reinforced and new partnerships are created. And perhaps this is also one example of the partnerships with the different stakeholders the fourth one is that Finland plays an active role in media education activities. So this is a national policy for media literacy, launched by our Ministry of Culture and education.

And there has been a lot happened since the launch of these policies I give you some examples. One is that also – this is also done by the Ministry of Education and Culture, they launched a couple of years ago, 2020, the new literacy, and there’s English and Finnish that you can read and go online to find it. It’s the framework to promote equal opportunities for the children and young people to achieve a special digital competence, that’s needed not only in their studies but also whether it comes to citizenship. So this is really important for a project that has been going on. But there is still a lot of work to do, and as Pekka mentioned I’m also from the CRITICAL project, and we are studying what is still needed? What lacks there are, what kind of skills and children and adolescents need? What do we need to do in education, what do we need to do in teacher education, at schools and on.

And we have found, of course, different for example, that still, of course, children have a lack of for example critical literacy skills. There’s still work that they can do, and they can achieve those skills. There’s more work to do that we can do in teacher education and so on, and we also launched a new policy brief. This is moment only in Finnish, but it will also be in English, hopefully.

If you go to our website, you can find a little bit more information, hopefully quite soon. But if you want to hear something more about the CRITICAL Project, we will be in other auditorium at 3 p.m. today. So welcome to listen a little bit more about our research. So thank you.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Thank you, Reijo.

Own by the way, shouldn’t we give applauses to our speakers? Yes, we should! Yes!


And now, as our third speaker today, I would like to warmly introduce and welcome Mr. Heikki Lauha from Sitra, which is the Finnish Innovation Fund. And Heikki is a master of sciences from the University of Helsinki. And now he works as a specialist in Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund and he works in the Digital Power and Democracy Project. And this is a project that produces information on the new forms of digital power and enables people to make a different in matters that are important to them. For example, through improved guess what, information literacy.

Heikki, please.

>> HEIKKI LAUHA: Thank you. I’m quite closely looking at digital information literacy from their perspective of democracy and we know technological development and rapid changes in the information environment have lead to major changes also in the power relations. This has not only blurred the lines between decision makers and highlighted the impact of digital platforms and the concentration of digital power in the hands of a few Big Tech companies.

The freedom in the world report and numerous other democracy reports indicate the same that democracy is globally in decline. And Finland and other Nordic countries are not immune to this development. We can witness a serious democratic back sliding in Europe. Technological development is not the only explanation for this phenomenon, but we can clearly see the utilization and the democracy are deeply connected.

So what we need is democracy and digitalization and digitalization in democracy. And as we know and we have heard already today, mis and disinformation and the polarizing nature of social media network algorithms have posed a serious threat to democracy.

There is a massive collection of digital data. Sitra explored the ecosystems and operating models of data economic-based – economy based on the collection and the use of data of policymakers. Unfortunately, the data are not complying with the digital protection. The investigation showed that data collection is not limited to digital environments and, for example, data informational transactions in brick and mortar stores may be passed on to Global Platform companies. So we need regulation, transparency, accountability, and investments in democratic.

We need my data global, which is based if Finland to empower individuals by improving their right to self-determination regarding their personal data. In addition, it’s important that people themselves have sufficient agency to ensure that fundamental rights do not have to be compromised online or offline.

So what I’m saying is that individual autonomy is the foundation of democracy and it’s essential to pay more attention to safeguarding it in the digital age. The knee to digital agency is to look at the competency of all age groups and citizens, including digital information literacy and basic understanding of data economy.

Finland’s digital compass which is on the EU policy program is a roadmap extending to 2030 and that provides an overview of Finland’s digital transportation and provides the direction of national development work. One of the key priorities is to enhance citizens digital literacy and education. However, digital education is seen in the program as much more broader than just digital competencies that include digital skills, knowledge and attitudes. It includes cultural and cultural dimensions. At the same time, it is important to emphasize that strengthening digital education is not only a responsibility formal education but also nonformal education such as cultural institutions, NGOs, and youth work play a key role in that. So thank you.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Thank you.


And now it’s time for our fourth speaker, time flies. Our fourth speaker is online, participating remotely. Let me introduce her. Our fourth speaker is Minna Aslama Horowitz, from the University of Helsinki. Hello, Minna.

Please unmute yourself. We can’t hear you yet.

>> MINNA ASLAMA HOROWITZ: I did. Can you hear me?

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Yes, perfectly.

Minna is a docent at the University of Helsinki. She’s also affiliated with the research consortium, the democratic epistemic capacities in the age of algorithms, short for DECA. Also the Nordic Observatory for Digital Media and Information Disorders which is NORDIS, as well as a think tank of the Nordic Council of Ministers addressing platform power.

She’s also a fellow of the Media and Journalism Research Center and St. John’s University New York.

With this I would like to hand the floor over to Minna. Please. Go ahead.

>> MINNA ASLAMA HOROWITZ: Thank you. Thank you. Sorry I can’t be there. I’m on my way to the airport but actually I’m in a place that fits perfectly our theme. I’m Audi. Those who are Finns know what I mean. I’m at the library which is a fantastic, beautiful modern building at the heart of Helsinki.

I’m at the floor now which has books, but floors below have all kinds of multimedia center where they can do filmmaking to graphic design to sewing things to screening films and attending events. It has two cafes, one restaurant and one cafe. It has a childcare center and it’s all cultural events are organized here.

You can’t see it unfortunately because the windows are a little bit sort of opaque, but I can see the House of Parliament from here from the third floor.

What I’m trying to say about this, the way I see digital information literacy and the way I have been researching it, meaning I see it as a part of as was already mentioned broader citizenship.

It has to do with culture. It has to do with political agency. It has to do with rights to knowledge. And I would like to bring in another word. I think I so well highlighted how many different kinds of definitions we have for literacy and Pekka talked about these heroes, different kinds of heroes and how the landscape also in Finland, our little – what we used to say in Finn’s birds nest, we are safe up here in the north. It has changed so drastically and so quickly, as the situation around the world.

I would like to change what Sitra was talking about, this comprehensive idea of what digital information literacy should be and can be. And I want to bring in two words, resilience and trust. Of.

I feel that without digital information literacy for everybody, without the rights to knowledge and the ability to use that knowledge in the digital world, those are central for resilient societies.

And one thing that I think we should add to literacy as not only literacy, whether it starts to govern AI, or the Digital Services Act, and Sitra is doing a self-study course on that as well but also the understanding that we are in this multi-crisis world, we as individuals are safe only if we understand one another and if we trust one another. And other researchers have looked at national resilience against disinformation and information warfare and they talk about trust in three levels basic societal functions, structures of society in knowledge organizations that can be trusted and then also to one another and I think – if we think about digital information literacy, we have to start to teach that we need to develop trust and dialogue to one another. We need to be critical, but we need to start to trust one another. We need to start to converse is a more empathic and sympathetic way. We have to tolerate more voices and that’s the essence of the kind of digital information literacy that we really need beyond the – beyond sort of specific skills. Thank you.


>> PEKKA KANERVA: Okay. Thank you, Minna. So we have now concluded the part of the – of the speakers, the four speakers and now it’s time to go to the second part of the meeting which is the open discussion. And what I just hear – okay, let me first set a cup of ground rules. The organizers have told me that they are really, really strict today! That you are only allowed to talk 3 minutes. Not more. You can talk also one minute or half a minute, but not more than three minutes. They will cut you off so that everyone will get a chance. The second thing is that if we have time, I really hope that we will get the chance to have a word or two from Mr. Kivinen, the chief editor of this fabulous guide. And the third thing is that I think it’s time to open the discussion and there is a chat that I was instructed to say, but I’m not seeing the chat right now. Sol could you kindly read it aloud for me and I can repeat.

>> And also if the person in the chat –

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Yes, please do that.

Okay. So the person who put a question in the chat, could you please unmute yourself and –

>> JÖRN ERBGUTH: I am here.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Okay. You are here. Excellent. Excellent. Lovely. I think the microphone will pick up your voice. You can just speak up and please tell your name, and then the floor is yours.

>> JÖRN ERBGUTH: Thank you. My name is Jörn Erbguth. Thank you for your presentations. I’m very interested in the perspective of digital information. And we see a lot of upcoming regulations, existing and upcoming regulations of this and when digital skeptical countries like Germany. We see first consequences of AI, the open AI has put they are able to use their services digitally, and so how do you see the upcoming regulations from a Finnish perspective? Do you think that you can scope with the innovation? Or are you skeptical that innovation might be at risk if there’s too much red tape, too much regulation that it’s – that you have a lot of regulatory overhead.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Thank you. A very relevant question. Now, I would like to ask of our speakers, Heikki, Reijo or Minna, would you like to comment on this important question?

>> HEIKKI LAUHA: I think Minna wanted to comment on this.

>> MINNA ASLAMA HOROWITZ: Actually, Kari sent me a note that I have to comment on this.

I think the conversation in Finland right now is very much sort of – how would I put it? Very much global conversation and fearful if you think about the AI regulation, as far as DSA is concerned, I have taken part in some roundtables and it seems to me that there is a consensus that it is a great thing, rather that it significantly restricts our digital innovations.

For AI, I think that some stakeholders do feel that the kind of conversations we’re having now are too fear driven, and driven by the big hot shots and competing about the new power scene and we, together with Sitra, for instance, want to raise the issue what does AI mean for citizens and their rights to knowledge, their systemic abilities to participate. So we in academic world and Sitra are thinking about this at the moment. As for significant fears of all of this regulation hampering innovation, I have not witnessed this.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Anyone else? Either speakers or from the floor? Yes, please.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Speaker is too far from the microphone).

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Can you speak up a little bit.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Previous question around regulation, and the regulation being proposed for the commission at the moment. And obviously, you know, we think it’s really a much needed piece of legislation so that the technology companies take the steps to ensure the safety of child users.

How do you see this from a Finnish perspective? What is your perspective on the regulation? And how do we make sure that we have effective strategies as well to – around the digital literacy side of things.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Thank you for the excellent question. Let me try to repeat, if I understood, the main thing of how do we plan to protect children, especially? That’s the core?

Anyone from the speakers, including Minna or anyone in the audience, including Kari, of course.

>> MINNA ASLAMA HOROWITZ: I would say real quick. This is an advertisement. I will post it in the chat as well. The Nordic Council of Ministers has just a month ago published a set of recommendations where we have very specific goals for protecting minors. And the age of platforms and Denmark has adopted some of those. Now we have a new government in Finland and we shall see what happens but I’m going to post that link and you can take a look at what we have recommended as sort of a shared Nordic strategy in that regard.


Anyone else?

Is there someone in the chat? Kari, please.

>> KARI KIVINEN: There is not a session without questions about artificial intelligence. And I have to say that I’m at this moment works as an EU civil servant and I’m absolutely in favor for regulation of the big platforms. I’m in favor that there would be some kind of responsibility on the content and favoring innovation, especially digital innovation. And I think that to answer the first question, Finland is a country of start-ups and I’m sure that there are a lot of start-ups working at this moment to develop how to use and how to profit have artificial intelligence of let’s say the last six months. Finland is very positive.

But you have here in the speakers different parts. I mean, I’m representative, in my free time Faktabaari that we think disinformation should be tackled and it should be starting from an early stage, like starting in Finland.

It should be governing the pupils after school age and elderly people. But we need research and Reijo did not speak much about the research, his group critically is doing. And so we have a combination of education, research, and then difficult regulation, I think these are the stepped to be taking, including then also the role of the fact checking organizations who are countering spreading disinformation.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Thank you, Kari.

Other comments or questions? Reijo.

>> REIJO KUPIAINEN: Thank you, Kari and thanks for the question.

Perhaps I will come back to the issue of societal protection. So that was one thing, of course, that I think that what Kari said, perhaps there’s some kind of balance that is needed, for example what kind of regulations are needed but when we talk about different literacy, it’s kind of part of the protection in a way because it is in the education system, and then the people who are educated in a way they have this different kind of skills to protect themselves. Of course, this is individual. But then we need something other which comes from society or governments or whatever. The parents are important here.

There was a large research, Pan-European research ten years ago and there was different kind of country profiles and Finland was a country that was – that it was perceived that children have a lot of risks online but also they have a lot of support by their parents. This is one way also to support children, the parents know what their children are doing.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Thank you. Reijo.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Who are the ones educating adults and parents? The question is raised that mainly in Estonia, we have a problem with COVID vaccinations and the responsibility to getting the right information is on the person, but there’s so many fake news. It’s so hard to determine what is right and what is wrong. And people don’t have the knowledge. How can we educate adults in a way to get there?

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Anyone or online?

>> HEIKKI LAUHA: Well, I think as I said earlier, that it’s not just the responsibility of the normal education sector, meaning schools and the responsibility of teachers, but also nonformal education. And I think we have already emphasized in our policy program, national policy program, that we have this – we call it like this build on, digital build on. The built-in world is difficult to translate.

But the idea that everybody who is participating in sort of cultural life, whether it’s libraries, loose ends, any other cultural institutions, also they play a key role in sort of this kind of media education and digital literacy.

And so I think this is a big project which includes many stakeholders in Finland.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Yes, please, sir.

You have spoken already once. I will so give the word to you.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: So I’m Peter Koch. I work for the German registry. The topic is the presentation of the project. You have combined the topic of literacy which I read as self-empowerment for the consumers of media. I would say part of that is likely to educate people to be more skeptic, skepticism should be there, which is also part of like the scientific approach to these discussions.

On the other hand, that fact checking approach is probably very helpful to the extent that it’s all based on facts, but it is kind of a different model. This is trust us because we have done the research for you.

How do you see the tension between these two? How they relate to balance?


>> REIJO KUPIAINEN: Actually, this is quite interesting discussion in the field of media education, because if you are in a way some say that if you really are critical and skeptic against all kind of information, so also, perhaps can you lead the wrong tracks? A way? Welcome, this is also, I think one way that how we understand criticality, how we understand the literacy and how we use it and use the media.

And this is one really important part of this – also the literacies. In Finland, there’s a huge trust of the media. It’s not the same in everyone country. Finland is one that is perhaps one of the top when it comes to trust of the media. So that’s the – I think one part of the balance is that, of course, you need to be critical. You need to have specific kind of critical skills but still you need to know what the trust and, for example, what is the media that you can trust on?

>> HEIKKI LAUHA: If I could add on that, I think that is a really important question and one idea is that we need to develop more like civic tech, or democratic technology. So for instance in Sitra, we have some experimentations, for example, between the policy platform which I think in other European countries have also tried to also make that org platform, basically open-source platforms and the idea is to increase the public debate, increase trust, and in that way sort of also tackle to this problem or this challenge.

Also, we have our application platforms. So we try to sort of the build in different ways the public trust.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Thank you. And now I must say something. We have three people who have requested to speak. We don’t have a lot of time. So I will give maximum one minute to all of these three folks. The first one is the gentlemen in the audience. The second will be Kari Kivinen and the last one is Minna who is online and then we will wrap up with Mr. Francesco Vehki.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I would like to refer to the disinformation for young people. I don’t think it’s disinformation. It’s just a – Norway doesn’t recommend the vaccine anymore. Young people have a very low risk of COVID. And so there is a discussion and we cannot expect certain groups, but we live in a pluralistic societies. We all have different points of view and the official positions change us all. And before official positions change, of course, we have different position in the public, and we should not suppress this discussion, because it’s part of a civil threat of society.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Thank you, sir.

I would summarize this as sometimes there are facts. Sometimes there are opinions and it’s important to distinguish between the two.

And now, please, Kari?

>> KARI: To answer in one minute to several questions.

In Finland, the media education occurs at a very early age. And we want to, because they are now heavy users of all kind of media. They have seen hundreds of films and playing a lot of games, et cetera, et cetera. And we want to develop the media skills little by little, step by step, and that’s why this has the possibility to do something. And probably because there is this approach of Finland is leading the rankings of media literacy. It starts from an early age. It’s a natural part of the education and it’s going on.

Adults, we have, in Finland, Minna has shared the library experience. Every city, and town has a library. When you have a good civic knowledge of things, you are less vulnerable for the disinformation and we have an unbelievable adult education system. So in Faktabaari, we work with the libraries. We work with the adult education organizations and we try to pass the message and the good, positive side of digital skills are not negative skills they are the civic skills of every citizen in Finland.

You cannot even take a tram in Helsinki without having a digital platform or a digital ticket. Everything is digitalized and our new government will be going even further. So digital skills are a part of everyday life and we should help citizens to be really competent and confident dealing with all kinds of platforms. Thanks.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Thank you, Kari and I think we still had Minna.

>> MINNA ASLAMA HOROWITZ: Super, super quickly. I didn’t hear the gentlemen who talked about the plurality of youth very well but I think that’s key. And having done research with media literacy professionals, policy professionals, journalism professionals all around in the Nordic countries, I’ve heard the phrase “we are living in borrowed time of trust.” So also understanding these different effective groups and epistemic groups who have their own knowledge and system knowledges. We have to bring that together. So in the world of all beautiful library, we have to be vigilant and learn from other countries in this type of work.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: All right, thank you, Minna. Now we just have this fine message that because after this it’s going to be the lunch break and no one is hungry. So we are allowed to exceed our time by a little bit. Of okay?

>> I will try to be brief then.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: The only thing that we have left is summary from Mr. Francesco. So he will run us through by the summary, the conclusions that he’s been able to do, based on all the discussion, and then it’s just the last words from me and, yes, Sophie. And also Sofia.

But Francesco.

>> I will try to be really brief, because as we heard, there are many, many things, interesting things during this discussion. So first we started with giving a definition of digital literacy which was provided by Pekka and it has active and civic engagement with the digital world and promotes active digital citizenship.

And Pekka looked at Russian disinformation and also trolling campaigns and he found out that organizations like Faktabaari deals with promoting fact checking and it’s playing a crucial role.

Secondly, we talk about projects like CRITICAL, and, in fact, media literacy, and we have different wordings and different definitions, but we focused on media literacy and for students and teachers has been taken seriously in Finland and it’s included in curriculum from early childhood and care.

First, media education is high quality and in the lesson center. It’s achieved through resources and national and local level theory, including the stakeholders. And digital media literacy is important and in that sense, it’s still to be tackled.

Thirdly, we spoke about the language and the technological development and the democracy, especially about the change of power relations by social media polarization. On the one side, of course – I mean, the social media and their mechanism are not the only reason for the decline of democracy, but it’s there is a need for transparency and investment in this field.

And individuals must be empowered by their digital information. One of the key priorities thus is to announce citizens with the digital literacy and has a broader meaning and doesn’t just include digital competencies but also cultural aspects.

Finally, and when I mean finally, just about the speakers because there were many other issues dealt with in the questions, but when it comes to that, maybe we can look at that. But finally, Minna spoke about how in our it contemporary world it must be based on resiliency and trust. Everyone has the systemic right to know what is responsible – it’s not only related to understanding data economy and what kind of policies are performed by the governments. And actually the individuals are safe, only if we have the trust and trust each other. The contemporary political landscape and then we have many other concepts like the possibility to preserve digital innovation through regulations and the need to find balance between the individual level, state level and regional level and other stakeholders. Also the perspective on digital literacy and sexual and child abuse online. The importance of protection, generally speaking and the need to find a way to achieve a pluralistic society through digital society. I hope I told almost everything. I hope I have been clear and I’m sorry if I spoke really fast. I tried to summarize everything. Synthesizing is not my best skill. Thank you for your attention.

If you have any relevant criticisms, please let me know.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Thank you, Francesco.

Let’s give a round of applause.


As parting words from myself before I give the floor to Sofia, would represents the organizers, I would like to highlight three things, we are here to enhance all of these things about more – about the better world by improving the Internet and all of its aspects and we can do it on the individual level, on the societal level, on the global level. We are doing all of those in this event in these three days and I will give you one example what you can do here. Try also individual conversations with people. One example, I recently met an old friend with whom we very strongly disagree about politics. I was afraid of that encounter beforehand because I was afraid our friendship might end if we start talking about politics. But it turned out, it was the opposite. We ended up talking for hours about politics and we ended up doing fact checking digital information literacy on the web and checking the sources, experience. And the experience in the end, we were able to say to each other, oh, yes, I had some wrong conceptions about things that we ended up closer to each other. It was a lovely experience for both of us and strengthening our relationship and also giving hope that in this troubled world that, indeed, even through one-to-one discussions there can be improvement. Please do that here as well today.

And as parting words, I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the speakers, to the active audience, and to the organizers of the event and thanks for my part. It was a really pleasure and honor to be here today. Thank you very much.


>> We would like to thank you for speakers and for your moderation.

Especially compared to other sessions, I feel like this was very, very smooth.

>> PEKKA KANERVA: Sophie, please repeat the last part.


>> Just a few marks. It is now lunchtime. It will be in the cafeteria. And at 1:00, this won’t be a session in this room but it will be in the main auditorium, and we come back into this room at 3:00, where we will talk about artificial intelligence and its role on children and education. So I would like to welcome you back here at 3:00. And one thing about the reception tonight.

Some people, like myself, because I forgot to register have something that is handwritten. You need to go to the registration to get a proper reception badge. Otherwise, you won’t be able to come to the reception later in the evening. Please do that before 5:00 today.