Helsingin Sanomat editorial on the police service and media raises questions

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According to a new survey on the police service, an editorial in Finland’s largest daily Helsingin Sanomat claims today that trust in the police runs high, even if the survey showed that confidence in the police had fallen by four percentage points to 91%.

The editorial also puts in a favorable word for the media, which it claims enjoys strong acceptance from Finns because it is a trusted source due to the lack of fake news, and the high literacy levels of its readers.

Read the full editorial (in Finnish) here.

While there is a lot of trust in the police and national media, we have to make a further important question: Which groups trust the police and media?

If we look at the question from the perspective of the radical right and the rise of populism and far-right ideology in Finland, about 18%, or about half a million voters, question the latter two institutions.

Finland’s largest opposition party, the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, is openly Islamophobic, misogynist, and openly hostile of the mainstream media, and in many cases of the police.

The rise of anti-Muslim racism and other forms of discrimination in Finland are a cause for concern. How much do minorities like the Roma, Saami, migrants, and their children trust the police and national media?

If you asked some members of the Roma community what they think about the police service, the answer you may get may or may not surprise you. The same goes for people of color who commonly accuse the police of systematic racism and ethnic profiling.

Why are such groups usually sidelined? Why aren’t their opinions important?

The Helsingin Sanomat editorial forgets, like commonly other sectors of society, to ask what these minorities’ opinions are. Not asking them is denial and systemic racism; both our blind spots that continue to see Finland as a monolithic slab of whiteness.

It is hoped that these surveys about the police service and media don’t sideline minorities.

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