By Enrique Tessieri
Perussuomalaiset Rovaniemi city councilman Hemmo Koskimies is a good example of how some politician have lost touch with fairness and become the leaders of social-media lynch mobs. In a blog entry headlined, “Justified racism – an ‘n-word’ lives alone in a 75 m2 home,” is an example of how low a PS politician can stoop to promote hatred.
Migrant Tales got in touch with the editor-in-chief Markku Huusko and later on with producer, Jarmo Koponen, about Koskimies’ claims. A well-respected publication would ask the blogger to put out a correction.
I phoned the City of Rovaniemi as well to verify Koskimies’ claim that an immigrant was abusing the system. The answer I got from a city official strongly suggests that Koskiniemi took the lazy route by not verifying his facts meticulously.
Racism has not only spread in Finland thanks to people like Koskimies’ blog entries but with the silence and inaction of the Finnish media. Their passivity has given racism an ever-greater foothold in Finnish society.
Every one has the right to express himself. Even so, one does not have the right to spread misinformation. When this happens, the publication and journalist have the responsiblity of putting out a correction.
I recommend the following procedure if you read a blog or story that is similar to what Koskimieni wrote: (1) Get in touch with the source and find out if what the writer is claiming is true; (2) write or phone the editor or news editor and point out the mistake or wrongful claim; and (3) if the publication does nothing, get in touch directly with the Council for Mass Media in Finland (JSN).
Unfortunately, the PS’ victory in April has given some politicians the mistaken notion that it is now perfectly ok to insult and spread misinformation against immigrants.
The contempt for the Finnish media of some PS politicians like Jussi Halla-aho reveals how distant their values are to two crucial pillars of the real journalist and writer: ethics and fairness.
With a little bit of our own investigative reporting we can challenge some of the malarkey being published on immigrants and refugees in this country.