In the public eye
Professors are used in an expert capacity and interviewed by dozens of media outlets each day. The Finnish Union of University Professors (FUUP) considers it important for professors to be seen in public through their strong competence – it has an impact on the image of the Union and the entire corps of professors.
The public appearances of professors are influenced by the FUUP-drafted ethical guidelines for professors, the guidelines for journalists, the Council for Mass Media in Finland and the Act on the Application of Free Speech in Mass Communications.
Ethical Guidelines for Professors
In communications and all public appearances, Professors must observe the ethical guidelines approved by the Finnish Union of University Professors. One of the key values emphasised in the work of a professor is the autonomy of science. Other substantial goals are the creation of fresh knowledge and the promotion of human understanding based on unimpeded research in the professor's own discipline, the wider scientific and artistic community as well as society as a whole. Professors play a crucial role in maintaining our civilisation. The actions of professors promote the realisation of these fundamental values.
Journalistic guidelines and Council for Mass Media in Finland
The guideline for journalists stipulate that the provider of information should be informed in advance in which media outlet and in what context the information he or she provides will be published. The provider should also be told whether the information will be published under his or her name or if it is intended for use in an article's background or other material. Agreement on how the information intended for publication can be reviewed should usually be made when the information is handed over at the latest.
Under these guidelines, professors are entitled to demand that a correction or reply be published if the communicated message is erroneous, inadequate or it has been presented in the wrong context in a manner that gives rise to incorrect interpretations of the original information. A correction refers to the rectification of an erroneous fact that has been published in a media outlet, while a reply refers to the right of a person, who has been the target of criticism or an insult, to respond to published information.
The provider can lodge a complaint with the The Council for Mass Media in Finland (JSN) if the original information is communicated in an erroneous or inadequate form or in a misleading context and if journalistic guidelines are not observed with respect to the correction of the mistake or the publication of a reply.
Act on the Exercise of Freedom of Expression in Mass Media
The opportunities that professors have for demanding a correction or the publication of a reply are determined under the Act on the Exercise of Freedom of Expression in Mass Media.