Fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me.
The question is neither far-fetched nor provocative: The xenophobic Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party has used and exploited in the past three elections of 2011, 2015, and 2019 the migrant crime theme.
Understanding the success that the Sweden Democrats, a party with neo-Nazi roots, and the Moderate Party in September had in the Swedish election with criminal gang violence, PS head Riikka Purra bet she had found the “perfect” story to succeed in Finland’s April election.
But did she? The jury is still out on that one.
About eight formerly undocumented immigrants were found guilty of sexually abusing minors in the Oulu cases four years ago. However, a skewed and unfavorable narrative supported by the police, politicians, and media came close to hysteria. Yle published 77 articles on the topic between 14 November 2018 and 13 February 2019, including 13 articles alone on 14 January!
Thanks to the Oulu sexual cases, the PS almost won the election. Even so, the whole issue faded into the background after the election.
Will the same happen to the “youth gang”  story?
I believe so.
Each of the three has a vested interest in the “youth gang” story:
- The media gets viewers and advertisers.
- The police can get funds for fighting real or imagined crimes.
- Politicians can attract voters during an election year.
It all starts with a spark (the story) that the media, politicians, or the police ignite. After that, social media turns it into a wildfire that spreads relentlessly.
Another question that should be asked is if the “youth gang” story warrents so much media attention that it politically motivated.
One of the biggest disappointments of the media’s coverage of “youth gangs” is their little regard for hearing their voices. Moreover, they didn’t care less about labeling them as potential criminals.
Even President Sauli Niinistö is guilty of this.
Should we wonder why the minorities in Finland have little trust in the media?
The “youth gang story” offers a perfect answer.
 In Sweden so-called “youth gangs” are referred to as criminal gangs apparently to avoid labeling whole groups.
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