New Strategic Communications Team appointed to Government Communications Department
A new Strategic Communications Team has been appointed at the Communications Department of the Prime Minister’s Office. The five-person team will be responsible for the Finland Forward psychological resilience campaign launched during last spring’s state of emergency and will support the authorities in preparing for and responding to information influence activities.
The team will continue its work until the end of 2022. Similar teams have been established in recent years in several countries, including Estonia and the United Kingdom.
“Good psychological resilience to crisis helps people and communities to better cope with the pressure caused by the COVID-19 crisis. A high level of resilience also promotes society’s recovery from crises and plays an important role in ensuring security of supply,” says Director of Government Communications Päivi Anttikoski.
The Finland Forward communications package also aims to support national and regional communications cooperation in the context of COVID-19 and to create channels for assistance and support.
Communication strengthens freedom of expression
New threats to the information environment pose a constant challenge to democracy and the social order. Influencing activities have become more systematic in recent years, and technological advances have made it easier and more effective for different actors to carry out attacks. In Finland, too, intentional and systematic harassment, disinformation and hate speech have been directed at decision-makers, researchers, journalists and civil servants.
“We have seen the effects of words in concrete terms. If people are afraid to run for office or if researchers are afraid to do their work, we will be on a very dark path from the point of view of democracy and our society. Our work to combat information influence activities and protect freedom of expression and opinion has previously been on the shoulders of one expert; now, we have a team to support them,” Anttikoski says.
Strengthening communication through behavioural research
The new Strategic Communications Team will also use the knowledge gained from the behavioural science project currently under way at the Prime Minister’s Office and will apply behavioural science research in its communications.
“The team will also use the behavioural knowledge gained through the project to test the means and contents of communications more effectively. Especially now, it is very important for us to have a detailed understanding of people’s behaviour and the factors that influence it,” says Anttikoski.
The Strategic Communications Team will be led by Head of Communications Päivi Tampere. She has previously worked as Head of Communications at the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats and as Strategic Communications Adviser at the Government Office of the Republic of Estonia. Tampere has a great deal of experience in project management, crisis communications and information security through her work with various public authorities.
Johanna Kaprio-Papageorgiou, Senior Specialist in Communications, has previously worked in EU and international communications. She served as Head of Content at the Prime Minister’s Office during Finland’s EU Council Presidency and as Communications Coordinator for the 2020 Afghanistan Assistance Conference at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Prior to working at the Prime Minister’s Office, Communications Specialist Jenny Thuneberg worked at the Parliament Information Office as Communications Officer in charge of media services and crisis communications and as Head of Communications at the Finland Chamber of Commerce. She has also worked for a long time in various political background positions in Parliament.
Communications Specialist Alma Snellman has previously worked in communications with the Police, where, in addition to official communications, she gained experience in crisis and media communications. She also has prior experience working at a communications agency.
Communications Specialist Tiina Varhee will transfer to the Finland Forward team from her position as Communications Assistant at the Prime Minister’s Office. She has prior experience working in marketing communications.
Inquiries: Päivi Anttikoski, Director of Government Communications, tel. +358 40 5364821, and Päivi Tampere, Head of Communications, tel. +358295160911