But, Finland. How did it do it? How did a small nation mashed up between Russia and the Baltic Sea earn the distinction of harboring the planet’s freest press?
Well, for starters, Finns are major journalism consumers—according to the European Center for Journalism, 483 out of 1,000 regularly buy newspapers. And 76% of the population over 10 years old reads the paper. So there’s a big market for journalism, which incentivizes a better product. An interested, engaged audience begets better investigative reporting.
There's also a strong journalist's union that protects reporter’s rights—the Union of Journalists has 14,000 individual members, as well as 355 companies and six media associations. (Remember, there are only five and half million people in all of Finland.)
But the real reason that Finland scores big is that its government has made transparency and information availability—essentially, good journalism—an institutional prerogative. The Finnish government has actually adopted the explicit goal of making sure its citizenry are well informed. According to the EPC, "basic guidelines" were established in 2007, wherein the “special focus is to promote the information society in everyday life, aiming towards a ubiquitous information society.”