Migrant Tales applauds the sentencing by the Helsinki District Court on Thursday of Ilja Janitski, the founder of the xenophobic website MV-lehti and Uber Uutiset, on 16 criminal charges. Janitski was handed a twenty-two-month prison sentence and with two others found guilty, was ordered to pay the biggest share of damages amounting to 136,000 euros.
In another twist to the story, which YLE News does not report on, the BBC also describes Janitski’s publication as anti-immigration, Europsceptic, and pro-Russian.
Writes YLE News: “Some 90 criminal complaints related to the site were filed in connection with the expansive case, including aggravated defamation and ethnic agitation.”
While some, like Professor Matti Tolvanen, see the sentence as a blow to the spread of hate speech in Finland, Migrant Tales is not as optimistic but considers it a right step in the right direction.
The far-right and Islamophobic voice in Finland has found a platform through publications like MV-lehti and the Perussuomalaiset party.*
Read the full story here.
The 16 crimes thatJanitskin was convicted of included: three counts of aggravated defamation; two counts of aggravated incitement against an ethnic group; three counts of copyright infringement; two counts of breach of confidentiality; two counts of illicit gambling charges; and four counts of illicit fundraising charges.
While Janitski wanted to wash his hands of all responsibility for what others published on his website, the court saw him directly responsible for all content published on MV-lehti.
Jessikka Aro was one of the three aggravated defamation charges against Janitski. She was viciously attacked by the online hate publication when she carried out an investigation of the companies that advertised on the website.
The BBC reports: “Jessikka Aro is a reporter for the Finnish national broadcaster YLE. In 2014, she began investigating the existence of pro-Russian troll factories. MV-Lehti published disparaging stories about her, including an article accusing her of being a drug addict.”
* The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13 into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. Despite the name changes, we believe that it is the same party in different clothing. Both factions are hostile to cultural diversity. One is more open about it while the other is more diplomatic.
A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.