Migrant Tales Media Monitoring: Why are shoplifting Romany women news?

by , under Enrique Tessieri, Leif Hagert

Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat, which has had a murky history for publishing and attacking Somalis and other migrants in the 1990s, publishes a story about two Romany women who shoplift 2,600 euros of merchandise.

Certainly, shoplifting is a crime, but what about when a tabloid publishes a story that reinforces stereotypes about a certain group? Considering that Ilta-Sanomat was responsible in the 1990s for fueling Finnish racism against groups like the Somalis, isn’t that “a crime” also?


In the Finnish media, tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat have published racist stories. From left to right: This year, Finland will receive 10,000 illegal refugees (sic!); The Somalis coned the authorities to give them asylum; (right) Suomen Kuvalehti wrote in 1940 that the Finnish soldier did not run away, but an African tribe in the Indian Ocean does.

Apart from pointing out that the two women had hidden the merchandise in their Romany dresses, one of the suspects had yelled and acted aggressively against the security guard.

What would have happened if the shoplifters had been white Finns? If it were news, the tabloid would probably lead with the following headline: “A white Finns shoplifts.”

Who would be interested in reading such a story?

In our opinion, the story about the Romany women shoplifters has no other role than exposing the reporter’s prejudices and racist stereotypes of Romany women.

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