A Migrant Tales guide to biased and racist journalism in Finland

by , under Enrique Tessieri

After over twenty years working as a journalist and foreign correspondent in countries like Finland, Spain, Italy, Argentina, and Colombia, it becomes routine to spot fishy stories that are fake.

Fake news can encompass a lot of things. One area where it appears a lot is in stories about asylum seekers, migrants, especially people of color, and other minorities.

In 2016, Migrant Tales published throughout 2015 a list of stories that were biased and racist. In my opinion, the one below is one of the worst examples of Finnish journalism. There are, unfortunately, many more.

The above story appeared in September 2018 on state-run Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle). Yle changed the picture of the story shortly after it was published. The story was a poll about different parties’ views on migration and migrants. There are no “niqab” or Muslim parties in Finland. The Muslim woman in the picture does not represent a party. Source: Yle.

Migrant Tales offers an easy guide to spot these types of stories. Below, is a “classic” trick used by populist anti-immigration politicians over and over again. When they get away with it, you can hear them laughing all the way to the bank.

Case #1

A politician makes an outrageous claim to a journalist, who doesn’t even bother to question its veracity. Eventually, the journalist may do some investigating and find out that he or she was fed malarkey. By then it’s too late because the story is already out there.

One example of the latter is when National Coalition Party MP Pia Kauma got a lot of media attention five years ago by claiming that welfare is obliged to buy new baby carriages to Somali mothers (sic!) while Finnish women were more “ecologically conscious” because they didn’t mind using used babby carriages.

Migrant Tales’ racist and biased news test


If you answer YES to any two, the chances are that you are reading a racist and biased story. If you answer YES to three or more, you are reading a racist and prejudiced news. If you answer NOT SURE three or more times ask a knowledgable person what he or she thinks about the story.

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. In the last parliamentary election, Blue Reform has wiped off the Finnish political map when they saw their numbers in parliament plummet from 18 MPs to none. A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.

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