Helsingin Sanomat, the country’s biggest daily, celebrated its 130th anniversary on Saturday. Congratulations on your important anniversary but the picture below reinforces what I knew about the daily and Finnish mainstream media in general: It’s too white.
Considering that Helsingin Sanomat is the newspaper of Finland’s capital Helsinki, it is surprising that there are no visible minorities in the picture, considering that 9.4% (59,779 persons) of the city’s total population of 635,181 in 2016/2017 are foreign citizens, according to Helsingin väestö vuodenvaihteessa 2016/2017 ja väestönmuutokset vuonna 2016.
The percentage is even higher if look at people who speak another language other than Finnish or Swedish as their mother tongue (93,214/14.7%) and who were not born in Finland (86,998/13.6%).
One of the problems of Finland’s ongoing debate on its ever-growing culturally and ethnically diverse society is that the predominantly white media give a lopsided – usually inaccurate – account of our communities.
One good way of challenging the present situation is to encourage more non-white Finns to become journalists and writers and, importantly, encourage them to write courageously about our communities and realities.