Epic failure of the Finnish media in reporting the impact of the Tapanila rape case

The theory that immigration is responsible for crime, that the most recent “wave of immigration,” whatever the nationality, is less desirable than the old ones, that all newcomers should be regarded with an attitude of suspicion, is a theory that is almost as old as the colonies planted by Englishmen on the New England coast.

—Edith Abbott in the report of the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement (1931:23)

A-Studio hosts Markus Liimatainen and Annika Damström invited Sadak Elwan, Kadar Gelle and Maryan Askar to give “their views” on the Tapanila gang-rape case. While this wasn’t the worst example of opinionated and prejudiced journalism, it shows the epic failure of the Finnish media in reporting the impact of the Tapanila rape case. 

Liimatainen cites a National Research Institute of Legal Policy (Optula) study published in 2014, “Immigrants as crime victims and offenders in Finland,” which claims that rapes committed by those born in Africa and the Middle East were 17 times higher than those by native Finns.

Damström, who takes this study as the “ultimate truth” about rape and migrants, asks the guests how they explain such a high rape statistic.

It’s clear that Damström and Liimatainen didn’t do their homework as journalists but apparently allowed themselves to be carried away by tidbits of information that were unreliable to begin in the Optula study.

Even the study that they site claims that since the statistical information was only provided by the police, we don’t know what the real figures are. Hence, the study is unreliable and cannot be used to give any type of “ultimate truth.”

The reporter doesn’t mention these issues about the study but prefers instead to treat its conclusions as the “ultimate truth.” Anti-immigration groups are making the same conclusions as she.

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Watch full talk show (in Finnish) here.

Professor Vesa Puuronen of Oulu University spoke to Migrant Tales and said that since the statistical information is only from one source, it has therefore a lot of holes.


Defining white Finnish privilege #19: My rape statistics about your group

Migrant Tales has followed migrant rape statistic stories for some time. You should always treat them with tweezers when two matters appear: 

  • The news story only cites percentages, not numbers
  • The percentages are used to label all migrants, especially some groups.

Most of the stories written about migrant rape cases in Finland fit these two characteristics to a tee. Why? Because the percentages have more umph and permit us to eat our cake and keep our prejudices of others.

The Enbuske & Linnanahde talk show is one of many shoddy and racist examples of how the Finnish media labels whole groups in this country thanks to their interpretation of crime statistics.

Now you see the ad below…

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This ad, which asked “why Somalis rape” was removed after people started sending emails to the talk show. There were 38 Somalis who were convicted of rape between 2009 and 2013. In 2013 there were over 15,789 Somalis living in Finland who were not Finnish citizens or who spoke Somali as their native language.*

…now you don’t.

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Why do migrants have too little say over their matters in Finland?

The Finnish ministry of education allocated 1.3 million euros in 2015 compared with 1.2 million euros the previous year to support migrants in sports, according to YLE. Despite such sums of money migrants and their children still face obstacles like discrimination and racism in sports.

Discrimination today in Finnish sports appears as exclusion, name-calling, insults, even violence in some cases.

Despite the challenges, sports can play a big role in helping a migrant make new friends and adapt to his or her new homeland.  

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Read full story here.


UPDATE (Mar. 19): Migrant Tales’ 2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism

Migrant Tales’ 2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism will be updated separately. To see other examples of opinionated journalism in Finland about cultural diversity, please go to this link.

Mar. 19

Enbuske & Linnanahde: Miksi “kansalaisryhmä x” raiskaa?  (MTV3)

What’s wrong with this ad promoting a TV talk show? Racism in Finnish journalism is more common than one thinks. One of the problems is that the so-called migrant narrative is dominated and played out by white Finns who feel self-righteous are blinded by their own prejudices and political correctness. Their intolerance could be pictured as a jack-in-the-box that pops up when the lid is open and exposes an ogre. Imagine a popular talk show watched by Finns that asks why a certain national group rapes? What Enbuske & Linnanahde forget to mention is that white Finns commit the most rapes in this country so we could perfectly well ask the same questions of white Finns. Enbuske & Linnanahde have always had issues with their prejudices. This ad below, which was later changed, exposes it perfectly.


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Now you see it…
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…now you don’t.

Tärkeä kysymys vailla vastausta: Olivatko Tapanilan joukkoraiskauksesta epäillyt suomalaisia?

Tapanilan joukkoraiskaustapaus on järkyttänyt monet mutta samalla se on tuonut ilmi ikäviä yhteiskunnialisiä asioita kuten välipitämättömyys sekä rasismi. Keskustelu on jyrännyt eteenpäin valtamedian ja sosiaalimedian avulla.

Ihmisten voimakas reaktio sosiaalimediassa ei ole yllättävä, koska yksi Tapanilan joukkoraikkaustapauksen tarkoitus on todennäköisesti ollut vahvistaa meidän ennakkoluuloja toisista ja vahvistaa “me” “heidän” kustannuksella.

Erittäin tärkeä kysymys on uhrin tilanne mutta tapaus avaa toisen tärkeän asian: ketkä ovat suomalasia ja keitä eivät ole. Laillisesti ihminen tunnetaan suomalaiseksi jos hänellä on suomen kansalaisuus. Miksi sitten poliisi kutsuu viittä 15-18 v epäiltyä “ulkomaalaistaustaisia” jos suurin osa heistä on suomalaisia?

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The question that everyone forgot to ask: Are the Tapanila rape suspects Finns?

The Tapanila gang rape case last week revealed a lot of ugly things about our society like our lack of willingness to help people in distress, and racism. The debate has raged on with the media and social media leading the charge. 

The violent reaction we have seen on social media to what happened isn’t surprising since the aim of the crime in Tapanila appears to be to strengthen our prejudices of other groups and bolster our sense of “us” at the cost of “them.”

An extremely important question that the rape case has revealed is who is considered a Finn by this society and who is not. In Finland we consider a person a Finn if he or she has Finnish citizenship. Why are we, or specifically the police, calling these five suspects people “with foreign backgrounds” if some of them are Finns?

Is the police using a code word that means “you have Finnish citizenship but you’re not a real Finn?”

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In the statement above, the police claimed that the suspects were “five persons with foreign backgrounds” even if the majority were born and grew up in Finland. Is a person with “foreign or immigrant background” anyone we don’t like and do we use the term to reveal that we are a pretty exclusive white society?


UPDATE (Mar. 17): Migrant Tales’ 2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism

Migrant Tales’ 2015 Hall of Poor and Sloppy Journalism will be updated separately. To see other examples of opinionated journalism in Finland about cultural diversity, please go to this link.

Mar. 17

Krp kiinnostui: Tapanilan raiskaus raivostutti nettikirjoittajat (Ilta-Sanomat

A good example of disingenuous journalism.  If we were to write about how racism spread and got a foothold in Finland in the early 1990s, Ilta-Sanomat would shine above the rest. Its billboards of the 1990s are clear examples of how it fueled racism and bigotry in this country when Somalis started to come to Finland. The story below is another example of their lowly style of journalism. Imagine, the tabloid asks how the rape case in the northern Helsinki neighborhood of Tapanila has infuriated people on the web so much that even the National Bureau of Investigation (Krp) is interested. What Ilta-Sanomat does here is add more fuel to the flames of intolerance by asking such a question and thus giving power and recognition to racists on the web.  A underhanded disingenious trick by a tabloid that is no stranger to racist reporting.

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Read full story (in Finnish) here.