The Finnish tabloid media has the dubious “honor” for having spread intolerance in Finland by giving populists and racists inflated respectability and importance. If we look at some of the billboards that tabloids published in the 1990s, it’s clear that they were responsible for spreading racism and prejudice in Finland.
Take for instance the most recent ad on Iltalehti’s website about Timo Soini, the right-wing populist leader of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party who is hostile to migrants and minorities. The ad asks readers to buy the weekend edition to read about Soini’s “opening up” and soft loving dad side.
Soft loving dad side? Certainly everyone loves his family. But when it comes to loving others that’s where clear lines are drawn.
Soini, who likes to portray himself as a political leader who has not helped racists and ultra-nationalists to get political power, makes it clear that he is against gay marriage and abortion. This fact speaks volumes about what kind of a hell Finland would be if he ever became prime minister.
What about if I posted the following billboards below to contrast with the one above? How do two from 1994 and 1996 contrast with what Iltalehti claims about Soini?
Tabloids may have a short memory but many in this country, especially migrants and visible minorities, remember many of the insults and outright hostility against them. Such intolerance is daily and not difficult to forget.
This billboard from 1996 by Iltalehti’s rival, Ilta-Sanomat, claims that those Somalis that got asylum in Finland in the early 1990s will remain permanently in Finland.
This billboard claims that Somalis conned authorities into giving them asylum. In 1994, Somali was absorbed in a terrible civil war that has been going on to date.