Media working group: From securing operations to fair competition
Consumer decisions determine the direction of development in the rapidly changing media world dominated by global competition. The final report by the working group tasked with the assessment of the Finnish media market finds that media policy is used to ensure a fair competition environment.
On 3 August 2015, Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner appointed a working group to examine and assess the operating conditions and competitive positioning of the Finnish media market and any obstacles to the market. The working group submitted its final report to Minister Berner on 07 December 2015.
'It is important with regard to the functionality of the media market that common regulation and a fair competition environment prevail both nationally and internationally. In this way, the market functions in a way that is as free and technologically neutral as possible,' says the working group's chair Anssi Vanjoki.
'Providing a fair operating environment is also one of the most important ways to support freedom of expression and pluralist media, as well as to maintain diverse content,' Mr Vanjoki continues.
In order to achieve technologically neutral competition, the working group proposes the dismantling of device-specific marketing regulations and the application of the same value-added tax to digital and physical media. Additionally the working group would eliminate the supervision fee that the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority charges from enterprises with television and radio programming. Actors that provide online programming are not charged a supervisory fee.
The working group proposes that the Finnish Broadcasting Company's tasks and duties be specified so that its operations would better promote the functioning of Finland's overall media market. The Finnish National Broadcasting Company should work more extensively as a distributor and purchaser of Finnish productions. The company's online services could be expanded into an open national content platform.
With regard to content, the working group proposes a market-driven transition to the use to technology that facilitates high resolution broadcasts. This would eliminate the must-carry obligation now imposed on commercial channels. The working group's proposal for Finland's postal service Posti is to promote innovative post delivery models. Additionally, the working group would invest in centralised digital news services, which could specifically support the digital journalism of regional and local newspapers.
The working group also proposes a cut to media sector schooling and the remodelling of some starting places to further education places. The sector's education should also meet with the requirements of a continuously digitalising world.
Professor Anssi Vanjoki from the Lappeenranta University of Technology acted as the working group's chair. The working group's members included author and columnist Kalle Isokallio, communication company Kreab Oy's CEO Mikael Jungner and freelance journlist Reetta Meriläinen.
During their work, the working group reviewed the media sector's status on the basis of prior domestic and foreign sector reviews. The group also heard from and interviewed numerous actors and impactors in the sector, and received statements from tens of media enterprises and associations.
The purpose of the media market review was also to support the Finnish Broadcasting Company's role as a public service provider and the work of the parliamentary working group that reviews the Finnish Broadcasting Company's funding.
The competent will thrive. Report by the working group assessing the Finnish media market (Programmes and strategies series 2/2015) can be read on the Ministry's website www.lvm.fi.
Chair of the working group Anssi Vanjoki, +358 400 536 172