UPDATE (Jan. 19): Migrant Tales’ 2015 Hall of Fame of poor journalism

by , under Enrique Tessieri

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

Jan. 19

Perussuomalaisten Martti Mölsä: Maahanmuutosta ja kehitysavusta voi leikata kaksi miljardia (YLE)

What was left out? YLE journalist Petra Ketunen was not on the ball when she asked Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MP Martti Mölsä about immigration, which the PS MP claimed cost taxpayers 1.5 billion euros. He said that the Finnish economy would grow if the country cut immigration and development aid (1.2 billion euros). These figures cited by Mölsä are malarkey and pulled out of the hat in October by Matti Putkonen of the PS and party secretary Riikka Slunga-Poutsalo. When an Iltalehti reporter approached these two party members about these figures, it became clear that the source of the above-mentioned sums were none other than Putkonen. The Finnish Immigration Service said that according to its calculations the cost of immigration was 210 million euros. If these cost of immigration figures stated by Mölsä were wrong to begin with why didn’t the journalist question them?

Näyttökuva 2015-1-19 kello 23.58.09

The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings. 

    • Mark

      Many things in development projects are changing. Kääriänen points out in that article that many projects have not evaluated the lasting results. This is quite true, modern requirements are for sustainable results, though these are difficult sometimes to actually measure. Dissemination means that ideas are broadcast, but it’s often difficult to say for sure exactly what the results of that are, who hears the message, and how they act on it. A lot of development work is about trying to communicate messages and useful information, to professionals and to the public.

      But there are significant problems with the current ‘development’ approach. Often projects receive funding for 5 or 10 years, and then are just shut down. Imagine if we had a health system that was working for ten years and then was shut down because the money ran out. Who do you blame for that? The end result would be nothing. So does that mean we should never spend any more money? Or is it that actually taking a much longer perspective when it comes to funding and development will give a greater possibilities for national bodies to take over funding and running of the programs? It’s a bit like killing the chicken and then complaining that it doesn’t lay eggs anymore.

      The other thing he criticised was the lack of real analysis underpinning the development programs, about how things are and why things are the way they are. I totally agree about this. Often, when experts go into a developing context, they have only their own expertise and knowledge of how things work in their own countries. They know very little about the country they are going to, or if they do, they sometimes copy very cynical attitudes of those living in those countries. Indeed, the goals often become quite narrow and the biggest obstacle seems to be ‘who the hell are you coming here telling us how to do things’. It is becoming much more important nowadays in development work to build up trust. But again, this is difficult if projects have short lifespans.

      I think the answer to the problems that Kääriänen is talking about is a different model for development rather than cutting development. We are starting to move away from ‘project-based’ work, which has a fixed shelf-life. We are moving more towards embedding development work directly within the networks of the people working in those contexts in the host countries.

      We also have to be realistic about what we are doing and why. We are trying mostly to provide models for how different services and governance structures can function, in a way that serves the people and builds stability and opportunity within developing worlds. It is about trying to bring security and accountability, so that political thinking in those countries becomes less about exploiting an personal opportunity and more a matter of serving a population. Yes, it does require enlightened leaders, but how will they become enlightened if there are not the contacts and efforts on the part of the developed world to communicate ideas and expertise?

      I certainly don’t think that the answer in a globalised world is to leave these countries to the likes of Al Qaeda, with their promise of stability, justice, social programs and purpose.

  1. Yossie

    “so that political thinking in those countries becomes less about exploiting an personal opportunity and more a matter of serving a population. Yes, it does require enlightened leaders, but how will they become enlightened if there are not the contacts and efforts on the part of the developed world to communicate ideas and expertise?”

    I think you are at the crux of the problem here. Africa suffers the most because of its leaders. Some countries at very least are sitting on top of great natural resources, yet they are very much misused for personal gains. How to fix this? Once upon a time I believed having Africans come to have education in western universities would be a great solution. Then I went to uni myself and found out that the Africans I talked with hoped to move to France and work for western company and make big bucks. Basically the same thing Kääriäinen mentioned too.

    Part of the same problem is democracy too like Kääriäinen mentioned. It did not come here in its current form right away. Press, education, the basics were there before it was fully implemented. It is hard enough to know what you are voting for ultimately even in Finland. Politicians say a lot, usually lies. Good example is how Jyrki Katainen told how Finland would be making money out of the loans given to Greece. If it hard for us to make fully informed choices, how could non educated African can do that without free and good press? As it is, elections tend to be destabilizing events that throw African states to conflict when loser (especially if he hold power before) refuses to agnolize the result.

    Another problem is the people working for development aid. The most important factor seems to be the amount of money used. Always when there is no results, these people come up with the 0,7% GDP. More money. Then when there is this money that needs to be used for development aid, there will be the vulture after it. Very many people with their own little projects to employ themselves and “to do good” in their own mind while travelling around the world. Good example is huussi ry or something like that. Couple of toilets to Africa and then many trips to see how the toilet associations were running the toilets in every village afterwards. Of course these projects get funded because the money just have to be put into something.

    • Mark

      Yossie

      Always when there is no results, these people come up with the 0,7% GDP. More money.

      And there i was thinking you were being reasonably level headed and then you launch into this! I guess you weren’t really paying attention to what I wrote. First, there is not ‘always’ no results, and the key thing that Kääriänen mentioned as that results have often not been measured. And, I also mentioned that this has actually changed, so his comment is becoming rather historical, though I don’t doubt that history, because it’s true. I also understand that some projects have been awful, but really, that’s always the case in ALL sectors of life and economic activity – pointing to them as an excuse to stop aid is a bit like pointing to all the failed and bankrupt companies in any one year and saying, hey, let’s just stopping investing in new companies.

      Very many people with their own little projects to employ themselves and “to do good” in their own mind while travelling around the world.

      Well, that’s just plain cynical and quite wrong. I know many of these Finnish experts working abroad in development projects, and they are not these little ‘do-gooders’ that I think you imagine them to be.And neither are they blind to the difficult circumstances in which they work.

      Couple of toilets to Africa and then many trips to see how the toilet associations were running the toilets in every village afterwards. Of course these projects get funded because the money just have to be put into something.

      I’m guessing you know very little about how development aid is handed out. I’m also guessing that you don’t realise how many lives these ‘toilets’ can save in particular parts of the world. But hey, go ahead, sneer, carry an making massive and sweeping generalisations about topics you know very little about all in the name of Finnish nationalism, and I’ll just leave you to cover your face with more egg!

  2. Yossie

    “And there i was thinking you were being reasonably level headed and then you launch into this!”

    Well, this is what I have seen. When confronted with the near non existent development in Africa, the most frequent answer seem to be the lack of that 0,7% goal. I have seen very little talk about improving the development aid.

    “I’m guessing you know very little about how development aid is handed out.”

    Could be, but the toilet story was from the website of the organization that run the program. If the number of toilets and the expense of the operation goes down to the somewhere roughly 100000 per toilet then, sorry if I do not feel confident in development aid. Sorry if I find it unsettling how the family of the program representative followed (albeit on their own expense) so they could had vacation there at the same time as the representative was checking the program.

    I suppose this is just a single story, but the grand scheme of things have not been any better as far as I can see. Also, how much of confidence I should have with the people who wasted decades and god knows how much money and say things will be run better now? How should I have confidence when apparently the people speak more or less lies in behalf of the job they represent:

    http://www.uusisuomi.fi/kotimaa/76864-ylisti-suomen-kehitysapua-viran-puolesta-puhuu-nyt-suunsa-puhtaaksi

    And how much confidence should I have when these people come clean about it all, its when they have safely been retired?

    And of course, there opinions that development aid is stopping the economic growth and in fact not helping but hurting instead.

    • Mark

      I have seen very little talk about improving the development aid.

      And your field of work is?

      I suppose this is just a single story, but the grand scheme of things have not been any better as far as I can see.

      And we should take you seriously why? Why would your opinion have any credibility? You get all your news from the internet, Yossie, and your research skills are almost zero. Stop bullshitting and jumping to conclusions about things you don’t know about and don’t want to find out about.

  3. Yossie

    “And your field of work is? ”

    Yet somehow I end up seeing moaning for more money and indication that it is the only way to improve development aid.

    “And we should take you seriously why? Why would your opinion have any credibility?”

    Who should we take seriously then? You? By what merits then? Maybe someone who is there to directly making personal gains from development aid?

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