How the Finnish media continues to be part of the problem by reinforcing stereotypes and racist perceptions of migrants and minorities

by , under Enrique Tessieri

A news story about migrant crime was published by the Lahti-based Etelä-Suomen Sanomat with a provocative drawing of a black man’s arms handcuffed. Migrant Tales got in touch with the reporter that wrote the story and asked why it was considered news at the end of July if it was based on a study published by The National Research Institute of Legal Policy on June 2 and published by other newspapers in mid-June?

The journalist said that the reason why the daily published the story was to look at the problems that some migrants face in this country and how to find solutions to them.

Moreover, the study was given ample coverage last month in dailies like Turun Sanomat.

Näyttökuva 2014-7-25 kello 9.59.09
Read full story (in Finnish) here.

There is a big difference in the news angle if we compare the story published by the online version of Etelä-Suomen Sanomat and what others published last month.

The stories that were published in June claimed that not only was migrant crime higher per capita than that of so-called ethnic white Finns (kantaväestö), but made an important point: Even if crime statistics may show differences between migrant and ethnic Finns, you cannot group and generalize about nationalities when looking at crime.  

Labeling and victimizing migrants with crime statistics has been a favorite political pastime of parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* and lazy journalists that regurgitate their rhetoric.

The journalist who wrote the Etelä-Suomen Sanomat story makes a disingenuous comment at the bottom of the online story stating that researchers of The National Research Institute of Legal Policy fear that studying migrant crime will label different national and ethnic groups.

Hmmm…isn’t that what the story written by the journalist is doing?

The Etelä-Suomen Sanomat story is yet another sad example of how the media is part of the problem and how it continues to spread stereotypes about migrants and minorities.

Read full study by The National Research Institute of Legal Policy (in Finnish) here.

* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.