Helsingin Sanomat’s late editorial response to the threat of political violence sowed by the PS

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THE STORY WAS UPDATED

Helsingin Sanomat finally published an editorial about the Pekka Kataja case and the threat of far-right violence to our political system. While the editorial was long overdue due to the importance of the topic, why did it take Finland’s largest daily a week to form an opinion on its editorial page?

The fact that a former member of Finland’s largest opposition party, the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, is an attempted murder suspect and a far-right activist raises a lot of questions and concerns.

While the editorial raised some critical points, one wonders why it took so long for Helsingin Sanomat to take a stand on its editorial page. Why is the editorial behind a paywall? Isn’t this a topic of national interest?

Isn’t the topic important in today’s context? Isn’t the rise of a radical right party with numerous bedfellows with the far-right, neo-Nazi-spirited groups like the Soldiers of Odin and Kansallismielisten liitoutuma as threat?

If Finland’s democratic institutions suffered in the future a blow like those under Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, would Helsingin Sanomat take a week to form an opinion?

There is a reason why the Finnish media and the political establishment too often drags its heels when it comes to Islamophobia and the spread of far-right ideology.

One factor is the lack of leadership and naivety of our media and politicians. They have been the fuel why parties like the PS have grown during the past decade.

The rise of a party that spreads racism wholesale against groups like Muslims spreads ethnonationslist jibberish, has ties with anti-democratic and far-right groups is a threat exists because it appeals to a certain group of voters.

While the Helsingin Sanomat editorial correctly states that some threats like racism, hatred as well as political violence threaten to close the door on future government talks, I would not be too sure.

Finland’s treatment of the PS and its racism and nationalism resembles a small village. We all know and trust each other because we are all white.


Helsingin Sanomat’s staff celebrating the daily’s 130th anniversary in November 2019. Do you see any minorities? Only one person in the picture has a so-called foreign-sounding name. Source: Helsingin Sanomat.

A good start to change matters is to have more minority representation on Helsingin Sanomat the editorial board. It is highly revealing that Finland’s largest-circulating daily has few if any minorities on its editorial board considering that about 16% of Helsinki residents speak another mother tongue than Finnish or Swedish.

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