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The National Audiovisual Institute (KAVI) and its Department for Media Education and Audiovisual Media (MEKU)
The National Audiovisual Institute is a central governmental agency under the Ministry of Education and Culture. Its tasks include the preservation of films and television and radio programmes as well as research related to them, and the promotion of audiovisual culture.
KAVI’s Department for Media Education and Audiovisual Media (MEKU) is responsible for the promotion and coordination of media education at a national level, and the supervision of the provision of audiovisual programmes and video sharing platforms from the perspective of protection of children.
The National Audiovisual Institute as a regulator
The provision of audiovisual services in Finland is regulated in specific regulations (e.g., provision of services and licenses in linear TV and radio, marketing, European quotas, protection of minors), mostly stemming from EU directives and regulations, like Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD). The Media Education and Audiovisual Programmes Department of the Institute monitors compliance with the Act on Audiovisual Programmes (710/2011).
Provisions on the activities of the National Audiovisual Institute are laid down in the Act on the National Audiovisual Institute (1434/2007).
Classification of Audiovisual Programmes and Its Supervision
An audiovisual programme is a film, television programme or digital game; the applicable age ratings and the National Audiovisual Institute’s authority to supervise compliance with the classification regulation are specified in the Act on Audiovisual Programmes (710/2011). The audiovisual programme classifiers assess the content of audiovisual programmes shown or distributed in Finland, to determine whether the audiovisual programmes are likely to have a detrimental effect on children.The age ratings must be complied with; they are not discretionary.
Audiovisual programmes are considered to be detrimental to the development of children if they by virtue of violent or sexual content or properties causing anxiety or any other comparable features, are likely to detrimentally affect children’s development. If an audiovisual programme is detrimental to the development of children, it shall be classified with an age limit of 7, 12, 16 or 18, depending on the programme’s content, and be given a symbol that describes the detrimental content of the programme. If there is no reason to consider the programme to be detrimental to the development of children, it shall be classified as suitable for all ages.
National Audiovisual Institute trains audiovisual programme classifiers and supervises their work, for example, based on feedback received from the public, and maintains a public list of audiovisual programmes and the age ratings set for them.
The Department for Media Education and Audiovisual Media approves an age limit and a symbol describing digital game content given by PEGI for use in Finland, without the programme being classified in Finland.
The Department for Media Education and Audiovisual Media maintains and develops an online classification system for audiovisual programmes. The department also supervises operations of the independent classifiers and keeps a registry of all the classifiers.
Supervision of Audiovisual Programme Provision
An audiovisual programme provider must submit a notification to the National Audiovisual Institute when they begin to provide audiovisual programmes. The notification must be submitted if programmes are provided for economic purposes and on a regular basis (Act on Audiovisual Programmes section 4.).
The institute supervises:
- the provision of audiovisual programmes
- adherence to the age limits, when audiovisual programmes are provided to the public
- compliance with the official age ratings as well as required labelling with content symbols in connection with the audiovisual programmes provided
Providers of audiovisual programmes and video-sharing platforms can develop codes of conduct to protect children from harmful content and promote media literacy. The National Audiovisual Institute may monitor that the codes of conduct are in compliance with the law.
KAVI actively participates in international collaboration and represents Finland in the European Commission Media Literacy Expert Group and Safer Internet for Children Expert Group. KAVI is a member of the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) and in 2021 works actively in the Subgroup 3. ”Disinformation” and in the Action Group 3. ”Media Literacy”. KAVI has also been active in the work of UNESCO media and information literacy work.