Comment: Helsingin Sanomat editor Riikka Venäläinen was quoted this week on Etelä-Suomen Sanomat as saying that the Finland’s largest daily commits mistakes when covering immigration issues. One got the impression that even if Helsingin Sanomat is striving to report more fairly and comprehensively the issue, Venäläinen made it sound as if it was a difficult topic. She said that immigration was a new phenomenon in Finland.
A seminar organized by the Ombudsman for Minorities and Council for Mass Media in Finland (JSN) gave a simple answer to Venäläinen’s query: The job of the media is to further the cause of human rights.
Migrant Tales totally agrees and wrote this week in a blog entry: “Writing about immigration is like reporting on any social issue that takes place in our society. The benchmarks are the same: inclusion, social justice, equality, fairness and acceptance.”
Eva Biaudet, the ombudsman for minorities, said at the seminar that the atmosphere in Finland against immigrants had gotten so bad that “a (Finnish) border guard lives inside each of us.”
If one wants to get a glimpse of racist and fear-mongering reporting in Finland was once like, one has only to read the stories that the tabloids published about the first Somalians that came to Finland and sought asylum in the early 1990s.
It doesn’t give a pretty picture to Finnish journalism.