Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Finland's subsequent application to join Nato helped to triple the Nordic nation's visibility in international media last year, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs said in a report published on Thursday.
According to the Finland in the World Media report, 2022 saw Finland gain its largest-ever media visibility, with more than 600,000 global news story headlines.
The number of times President Sauli Niinistö, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP), and Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto's (Green) were mentioned also increased by the tens of thousands.
Among those leaders, PM Marin received the most mentions, around 146,000, which reflected a significant increase from the 19,594 mentions she received in 2021. Niinistö was mentioned some 141,000 times last year.
"Finland was more visible in the world media in 2022 than ever before. This visibility has not only been positive for us, but it has also increased familiarity with Finland. The image of Finland has been renewed by topics related to foreign and security policy as well as the significant visibility of the country's leaders," Director General of Communications at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Mikko Koivumaa said.
Finnish sport was also discussed worldwide, with 189,000 headlines about Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas alone.
The media also followed basketball player Lauri Markkanen's career progression in the NBA and rally driver Kalle Rovanperä's historic world championship victory as the youngest driver of all time.
Apart from sheer numbers, the survey also studied what global media outlets said when they discussed Finland.
According to the report, global news agencies' coverage about the Nordic country retained a neutral tone overall. European media reports in particular contained a large number of positive stories, meanwhile, more negatively-toned reports were mostly seen in Russian and Chinese media.
"The global interest in the application for Nato membership must now be turned in Finland's favour, and the opportunities it brings must be utilised both politically and economically," the ministry's Koivumaa said.
Published annually, Finland in the World Media is based on observations made by 68 Finnish embassies and missions. The missions responded to the survey between December 2022 and January 2023.
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