Nordic Horizons

Fake news and cyber attacks undermine democracy, legitimise extremist views, push groundless conspiracy theories and provide cover for propaganda by rich individuals and states. But one country is fighting back. And winning.
A study by the European Policies Initiative puts Finland top of 35 countries in ‘post-truth’ resilience. Denmark was second and Sweden fourth. The UK was 10th. What’s the secret of the Bot-savvy Finns?

Show Notes

Finland has a particular source of propaganda to deal with in the shape of Russia. Misinformation attacks have focused on familiar issues like immigration and the EU, but also Finland’s application to join NATO. Now the Finns have devised a strategy to teach all social groups to spot fake news and fact-check. This includes lessons in community colleges, digital literacy toolkits and a critical thinking curriculum in schools. As a result, online interference by Russia in Finnish politics appears to have waned.
Now other countries are looking to learn from Finland’s strategy.
Jussi Toivanen is a former adviser to the Finnish PM on media literacy and was recently appointed Head of Communications at Finland’s National Cyber Security Centre. He believes the country’s cyber security success is due to something deeper; it is a cohesive ‘superpower’ - a society with high levels of trust in institutions and the media, plus a strong sense of identity rooted in human rights and the rule of law. He offers an unexpected insight – ‘the first line of cyber defence is the Kindergarten teacher’…
We also hear from Chris Silver – a researcher and PhD student on memory and the Scottish press - and Claire Elazebbi, a member of the Scottish Government's cyber security team. 

What is Nordic Horizons?

How do the Nordic nations consistently top international league tables?
Between Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland they are the world's best democracy, the best place to be a woman, the best educated people and the happiest. They regularly top UNICEF's child wellbeing index, lead on the Green Transition and have an enduring emphasis on equality that's the envy of the world.
Nordic Horizons is a Scottish-based group that's been interested in learning more from our nearest European neighbours since devolved government resumed 20+ years ago. We've invited experts over to speak in the Scottish Parliament on Norwegian outdoor kindergarten, Finnish prison reform, Swedish electoral systems, Iceland's crowd-sourced constitution and Copenhagen's claim to be the world's first eco metropolis. Since the pandemic, our events have gone online - but all were recorded and will now be available - updated and edited - via this podcast on a monthly basis.