Media Monitoring Group of Finland*: HS can and should do a better job when reporting on Riikka Purra

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party chairperson, Riikka Purra, has actively promoted her racist talking points. Some of these are the far-right great replacement theory and, most recently, her party’s aim to exclude non-Finnish citizens from getting social welfare.

While such a suggestion may appear for now a political stunt to lure voters, Purra’s suggestion is outrageous, to say the least. Did the media see it in the same way?

Nope.

Did any newspaper write an editorial about Purra’s statement?

Nope.

Apart from demonizing foreigners and minorities, her plan has the same ring as the Nurenburg Race Laws, which effectively excluded Jews from German society.

Even if the Nurenburg Race Laws came into force in 1935, Purra’s suggestion could be a modern version of the latter. The idea is the same: label, victimize and exclude whole groups.

Helsingin Sanomat does some fine reporting, but sometimes it falls flat on its face.

The story about Purra’s suggestion to exclude foreigners from receiving social welfare is a good example of deficient or lazy reporting.


Source: Helsingin Sanomat

While politicians like Purra have the right to express their opinions, the media should strive to be fair and give an equal voice to those the PS chairperson wants to exclude.

“What would a foreigner say if you took away the person’s right to social welfare? What would a racialized sociologist say about the impact on people of color? What would happen to our society if we made inequality a fundamental right? What social problems would emerge, and how would our society deal with these challenges?

We don’t know the answers to these important questions since the reporter has yet to ask other sources or tries to answer the above questions.

The problem with the story is that it is, in its present form, a platform for PS chairperson Purra to spread her racism and bigotry freely. She gives certain people hope that the sky is the limit regarding racism. According to her, we can take away social welfare rights from foreigners without any consequences to our society, never mind the people it would impact.

*Media Monitoring Group of Finland aims to promote fair and accurate reporting by the Finnish media of underrepresented cultural, racial, ethnic, and religious groups. As Finland’s cultural diversity continues to grow, the role of the media in forming public opinion and attitudes about minorities becomes even more relevant.