Media studies that look into social ills like Islamophobia and racism in general in Britain offer us a view of how matters could be in Finland. With little scrutiny of institutional racism in the Finnish police, similar studies of the mainstream media still appear light-years away.
A study published by The Muslim Council of Britain revealed that 59% of all coverage of Muslims in the British media “has a negative theme.” Another study by the University of Leeds of The Mail, The Sun, The Guardian, and The Independent, showed that 70% of the stories were hostile to Muslims.
Sexual assault is one common theme found in the Finnish media is about “asylum seekers,” which is code for Muslim.
With respect to the Oulu sexual assault cases in which former and present “asylum seekers” were implicated, Migrant Tales reported that from November 27 to February 13, only the state-owned broadcaster Yle published 77 stories on the topic. On January 14 alone, Yle published 13 stories about the topic.
When compared with a similar sexual abuse case of minors involving white Finns, there was a different reaction. The story about the pedophile ring accused of sexually abusing 6-15-year-old boys lasted only a week in the news with 7 stories published by Yle.
Which dailies in Finland would have the most negative coverage of Muslims?
Why don’t we know the answer to that question and what does it reveal about denial?
A documentary about Islamophobia in the UK published by Redfish offers us some answers about how the mainstream media portrays Muslims and migrants in Finland.
Roshan Muhammed Salih is a journalist of UK-based 5 Pillars after he left mainstream journalism.
“The mainstream media is institutionally Islamophobic in my point of view. We have had inquires into the police that
areinstitutionally racist, but we haven’t had the same scrutiny of the media. The Sadiq (?) University says that 94% of British journalists are white. There are three million Muslims in the country and that equates to 5% of the total population, but it is something like 0.3-0.4% are journalists.
So you can see how woefully Muslims are underrepresented in the mainstream media and the Muslim journalists that are in the mainstream media don’t tend to kind of reflect their community. Their answer to underrepresentation is tokenism. It’s not the dressing that is the root issue how do we tell the story of minorities communities, but let’s get some brown or black faces who say exactly the same thing as the white faces.”
As Salih of 5 Pillars pointed out, Muslims account for 5% of Britain’s population but only 0.3-0.4% are journalists. What would the corresponding figure be for Finland? Zero?
Finland’s Muslim population is estimated at 100,000 people, accounting for 1.8% of the total population.