"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."

The Chydenius Medal to journalist Anna-Lena Laurén for her unwavering work as an information disseminator

Published: 01.12.2023

- Tomorrow on the 2nd of December, we are celebrating the 257th 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 Chydenius Medal for Transparency was awarded to the journalist Anna-Lena Laurén

Journalist Anna-Lena Laurén is awarded the Anders Chydenius Medal 2023 for her courageous, unwavering and tireless work in which she has built bridges for a reliable flow of information between Russia and the Nordic countries.

In her work as a Russian correspondent and author, Laurén puts into words and explains complicated political and social phenomena, which would, without her insights, remain mostly incomprehensible to the Nordic reader. With analytical brilliance, Laurén skillfully places the development in today’s Russia in its historical and geopolitical context and, in a true spirit of Chydenius, offers answers to the reader’s thirst for information: what is happening and why.

With unfailing situational awareness and often at a frenetic pace, Laurén navigates through a range of challenges at sea where beacons cannot be trusted and waterways are blurred only to be redrawn overnight. Although the sea is stormy and the visibility is further reduced as smoke screens are systematically being put up, the Nordic reader can anchor his boat safely at Laurén’s eminent journalism. Putting all her knowledge to good use, Anna-Lena Laurén reduces ignorance and increases understanding of what may seem to be unknown. In her work, she defends and maintains Anders Chydenius’ basic value: the right to access and disseminate information.

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

The previous Chydenius Transparency Medal was awarded in 2021 to Edmo Nordis, the Nordic cooperation network for democracy. 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.


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