By Enrique Tessieri
It was pretty surprising to read about Perussuomalaiset MPs like Jussi Halla-aho and James Hirvisaari offering the Finnish media lessons on how they should do their job. Whenever governments and politicians start to blame the media for their shortcomings we know there is something wrong.
Just like the separation of the church and state, there must be a clear line between the media and politicians. Telling journalists how they should do their job or what the editorial policy of a newspaper should be is simply unacceptable in a Western democratic society.
Certainly we could take examples of countries like Myanmar, North Korea or Russia to see how governments and politicians manipulate the media for their own aims.
Apart from criticizing the media on numerous occasions and preferring not to answer tough questions by journalists, Halla-aho has now decided to boycott Tampere-based daily Aamulehti. The reason? He does not like the pictures that the newspaper prints of him.
Halla-aho did not like this picture published of him by Aamulehti. He said he would no longer give interviews to the newspaper. (Picture by Kimmo Brandt)
In another odd statement, Hirvisaari said that the media was treating the PS with disrespect.
Both Halla-aho and Hirvisaari reached public notoriety with the help of their xenophobic blogs. They are what some have called the “far-right extremists” of Timo Soini’s party.
Both are members of Suomen Sisu, a “Nazi-spirited” association, according to the Finnish Criminal Police (KRP) and Supo.
Can representatives of a “Nazi-spirited” association seriously offer advice to Finland’s media?
Can two people who base their writings on spreading stereotypes and hatred of immigrants and refugees in Finland tell the media what is ethical and correct? Seeking advice from Halla-aho and Hirvisaari would be like an ex-smoker with terminal lung cancer asking tobacco companies for advice.
Halla-aho was asked recently on a television program if he renounced the work of Alfred Rosenberg and David Duke, a former Klu Klux Klan head. It is understandable why associations like Suomen Sisu don’t have any issues with Rosenberg, who was tried in Nuremberg and sent to the gallows in 1946.
In Rosenberg’s The myth of the twentieth century, his argument is the antithesis of cultural diversity, or multiculturalism, which Suomen Sisu and Duke are vehemently opposed. Rosenberg believed that in order for the Germans to become the “master race” it needed to expel the Jews from the country. Only then would Germany reach greatness.
Tens of millions of people perished in World War 2 after Nazism and its representatives like Rosenberg were defeated and placed on trial to answer for their crimes.
It is ludicrous that people like Halla-aho and Hirvisaari want to teach our free media how to do its job. By keeping these two politicians, as well as others under scrutiny, we know that the media is doing its job.