Helsingin Sanomat plays down the far-right, claims it is “an essential part of democracy”

by , under Enrique Tessieri


After almost a year after the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* almost pulled off the parliamentary elections of April, Finland’s largest daily, Helsingin Sanomat, treats the Islamophobic far-right party.

A story by Tommi Nieminen correctly points out that the violence called by some PS MPs is unacceptable but then blows his speak-out-against-the-far-right-with-one-hand-and-support-it-with-another with this statement:

Political protest movement – in which the Perussuomalaiset could be included – is an essential part of democracy.”

This sentence by Finland’s largest daily is the reason why Helsingin Sanomat plays down the threat of the PS in politics and society.

Read the full story (in Finnish) here.

How can a party like the PS, which wants Finland to trash its international agreements so that no Muslims and other people of color can enter the country, be good for democracy?

How can a party that believes in pseudosciences like eugenics support ethnonationalism?

How can a party that claims to be a group of lawmakers support its MPs who thank god for burning down a refugee center, dehumanizes asylum seekers as “an invasive species,” or incite people to criminal action by attacking such centers?

Instead of writing wishy-washy articles that play down the far right, why doesn’t Helsingin Sanomat write an editorial denouncing violence against migrants, minorities, women, and our Nordic way of life?

This is one of the big unanswered questions that Nieminen analysis exposes as well as the following: Why write now – almost 10 months after the parliamentary election – about this topic?

His answer? A Hollywood ending to our far-right and racism social ills will come when both sides will kiss and make up.

Migrant Tales has always understood the threat that parties like the PS pose on our society.

After the April 2011 election, when the PS scored their historic victory, raising the number of MPs from 5 to 39, we wrote: “Far-right populism is an illness inflicting Europe at present and it now has a beachhead in Finland.” 

Back then, our blog got cited by Time Magazine. The above quote was a response to PS chairman Timo Soini’s statement: “We [the PS] are not extremists so you can sleep safely.” Has Finland slept politically safely since 2011? I don’t think so.

Back before the 2011 election, Migrant Tales was one of the few blogs that openly questioned and warned about the rise of the PS in Finnish politics.