"The liberty of a nation is preserved not only by the laws but by public information and knowledge as to how they are being administered."

Chydenius Medal for the Nordic Democracy Network EDMO NORDIS defending democracy

Published: 02.12.2021

- Today on the 2nd of December, we are celebrating the 255th anniversary of the Nordic principle of publicity, since the Freedom of the Press Act introduced by Anders Chydenius entered into force on 2 December 1766. In connection of Freedom of Information seminars, the Chydenius Medal has often been awarded ‘in recognition of internationally significant work for the principles of transparency in the spirit of Chydenius’, said Björn Vikström, Chairman of the Board of the Anders Chydenius Foundation.

This year, the medal was awarded at the “Nordic Democracy Day” organized by the Anders Chydenius Foundation and the The Hanasaari Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre. The seminar concluded the activities in the Democracy Network 21 between Finland, The Åland Islands and Sweden, which was co-financed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs as part of Finland's presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers (2021).

– Democracy and inclusion have been important themes during the Finnish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. I find it valuable that the civil societies in Finland, Åland and Sweden have built networks in order to promote the Nordic debate on democracy, minister Thomas Blomqvist thanked the Democracy Network 21. – Democracy Network 21 has created Nordic connections, which I hope will support a continuation and deepening of the Nordic debate on democracy. In the midst of the challenges of the digital age, I see a strong demand for these kind of activities, he added.

The Chydenius Medal for Transparency was awarded to the EDMO NORDIS network (Nordic Observatory for Digital Media and Information Disorders). The network represents a positive renewal of Nordic co-operation in order to meet the current democratic challenges. It was stated to be an excellent example of the civil society initiative needed to modernize the Nordic information society. The network was launched this year, and it has been set up by e.g. representatives of Avoin yhteiskunta ry’s Faktabaari (FI) and Källkritikbyrån (SE). Together with their Norwegian and Danish partners, they have set up a network focusing on the observation of digital media and information interference, which is part of a European network called European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO).

– I thank the Chydenius Foundation for this great honour, and on behalf of EDMO NORDIS, I would like to express our commitment to furthering the legacy of transparency and accountability the Chydenius Medal represents, said professor Anja Bechmann, chief investigator of NORDIS, upon receiving the medal.

– Trust levels remain high in the Nordic welfare states, but in a time where our digital lives take place in an informational landscape shaped by algorithms and data-driven digital communication, the Chydenius legacy of transparency and accountability is becoming ever more important. Through research, fact-checking and by empowering citizens by strengthening their digital media & information literacy, and by collaborating across the Nordic region, NORDIS will strive to contribute to that legacy.

Previous medals for open innovations, international organizations, investigative journalism and NGOs

The Chydenius Medal was awarded this year to a Nordic network supporting democracy. – During 2021, the Anders Chydenius Foundation has aimed to support Nordic co-operation initiatives supporting democracy, says Björn Vikström.

The first Chydenius Medal was awarded to Linux developer Linus Torvalds for promoting open innovations. The medal has also been awarded twice to representatives of influential international organizations: OSCE Representative on Freedom of Media Miklos Haraszt whose merits are linked to the promotion of publicity legislation in Eastern Europe, and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova who was awarded for her role in leading UNESCO's work for the free expression rights. One year the medal went to investigative journalism when financial journalist Jyri Hänninen and TV journalist Minna Knus-Galán were awarded for their work in promoting the publicity of capital flows. In previous years, the medal has also been awarded to non-governmental organizations promoting lobbying and fact-checking.

The Anders Chydenius Foundation decides on awarding the medals. According to Björn Vikström, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation, the foundation wants to promote a debate on transparency that takes into account the preservation of democratic freedoms and the defense of democracy from disruption.

More information:
Juha Mustonen
Secretary general of the Anders Chydenius foundation
Phone: +358 40 356 3782

Anja Bechmann
Coordinator to EDMO NORDIS
Professor, DATALAB, Center for Digital Social Research, Aarhus University
Phone: (+45) 51335138
Email: anjabechmann(at)cc.au.dk
Web: datalab.au.dk/nordis


The Nordic Observatory for Digital Media and Information Disorder (NORDIS) is a consortium of researchers and fact-checkers from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland.


Anders Chydenius

Anders Chydenius Selected Works

Read more