Democracy Recognition awarded to task force on multilingual COVID-19 communications – MEAE involved in the group 

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Publication date 13.10.2021 12.24 | Published in English on 14.10.2021 at 11.34
Press release

The 2021 Democracy Recognition was granted to the task force on multilingual and multichannel COVID-19 communications, which the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) started in March 2020. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (MEAE) has been working in the task force to develop COVID-19 communications so that correct information reach everyone who lives in Finland as extensively and effectively as possible. 

The task force has worked to ensure effective and accessible multilingual communications about COVID-19. It has also created ways to share information in multiple channels on how to seek health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective has been to ensure the equal treatment of people in terms of communications during a crisis.

The task force has cooperated with various parties, such as immigration organisations and key persons in the foreign-language communities in Finland. In this work, the task force has identified information needs among the target groups, and it has addressed their problems and built their trust in the authorities. Key persons and organisations have played an important role in sharing official information and in encouraging communities to work together against COVID-19.

“This is a fine acknowledgement to the whole task force. In the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, we have worked hard to ensure that coronavirus information reach even immigrants as extensively and equally as possible. It is fantastic that all that work now wins this recognition,” says Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) set up the task force on multilingual and multichannel COVID-19 communications to address the acute need of multilingual communications during the pandemic. It was commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment joined the task force a little later. 

Ministry has communicated in multiple languages during the pandemic

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has participated in the task force and produced itself multilingual communications during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has made efforts to reduce the effects of the pandemic on business activities, employment, and security of supply. 

The Ministry has published frequently asked questions and answers on various pandemic-related topics in eight languages in addition to Finnish, Swedish and English. It has issued press releases in as many as 15 languages and in easy-to-read Finnish.

In March 2020, the Centre of Expertise in Immigrant Integration at the Ministry started collating multilingual information about the COVID-19 pandemic from different sources at together with the team. The aim was to help integration actors and organisations in advising immigrants about matters that are related to the pandemic. 

The Centre of Expertise and InfoFinland have helped to produce communications in multiple languages and in plain language during the pandemic by providing advice and guidance and by publishing tips on how to translate information into multiple languages.

Democracy Recognition awarded for promotion of democracy and open government

The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities grant the Democracy Recognition to actors or organisations that promote democracy and the openness of public administration. The purpose of the award is to encourage the public administration to take better account of the participation needs of local residents and citizens. In 2021, the award theme is the forms of cooperation created between public administration and non-governmental organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In addition to the task force, the 2021 Democracy Recognition was granted to the Culture and Leisure Division of the City of Helsinki for its role in organising the Helsinki-apu service for helping older residents to cope during the pandemic. The award winners were announced at Kuntatalo in Helsinki on Wednesday 13 October 2021.

Helena Torkko, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 695