I have sent a complaint to the Council for Mass Media in Finland (JSN) concerning the A-Studio program that gave, in my opinion, a one-sided view of a problem that has an impact on all immigrants living in Finland. A-Studio claimed that a quarter of all rape convictions in Finland during the first five months of the year were by foreigners.
What the A-Studio report forgot to stress enough was that the total number of rape convictions by foreigners totaled 25 during the period under review.
Rape statistics are commonly used by far-right and anti-immigration groups to fuel ethnic hatred.
The Anti-Defamation League of the U.S. singles out a number of ways to recognize hate speech. One of these is the use of crime statistics incorrectly to drive home their claim: men from certain groups rape and therefore are a danger to our society.
The question that the A-Studio reporter, Tuomas Kerkkänen, should have asked is if 25 convicted rape convictions constitute a problem never mind a documentary to highlight the issue. Moreover, very little is said in the story about the majority of rape convictions, which are by Finnish men.
A number of similar storied like the one by A-Studio were published after the story was aired on August 1. What is surprising, however, is that many of these stories use only percentage figures. They don’t mention that rape convictions totaled 25 cases.
While everyone has a right to express himself or herself in our society, such a right should not be misused by a state-owned broadcaster like YLE to reinforce a reporter’s apparent prejudices of certain ethnic groups in Finland.
Fairness is an important aspect of any good news story. The A-Studio story wasn’t fair to the viewers or to those immigrant groups that it unfairly labelled.