By Enrique Tessieri
Perussuomalaiset (PS) Rovaniemi city councilman Hemmo Koskimies’ blog entry, ”Justified racism – a ‘n-word’ lives alone in a 75m2 home,” (the blog post was deleted by Uusi Suomi) still appears without any correction despite emails to Uusi Suomi’s editor-in-chief Markku Huusko and owner Niklas Herlin. A number of phone calls were made to Huusko but they were never returned by him.
Migrant Tales published on June 7 an entry on Koskiniemi’s blog writing.
The only person that answered my phone calls was Jarmo Koponen, an Uusi Suomi producer. He was helpful but told me that the net publication is not responsible for what their bloggers publish.
Good ethical standards in writing should apply to bloggers as well. In the case of Koskiniemi, Uusi Suomi should require him to put out a correction or ask him to take the entry off the blog.
Neither of these have been done concerning the entry published on May 21, where Koskiniemi accuses the immigrant of getting special advantages at the cost of the city, state and a single Finnish father with two children.
Migrant Tales did get in touch with the City of Rovaniemi to find out if what the PS councilman wrote is correct. It is evident from the email reply from the city that Koskiniemi is exaggerating to say the least. The city claims no wrongdoing.
This case is of interest to us for a number of reasons: (1) It shows how politicians can make irresponsible bigotted statements with near-impunity; (2) stereotypes and racism are reinforced as a result and affect the whole immigrant community; (3) the response to these types of misinformation and “justified racism” show how prejudice and hatred of immigrants have mushroomed on the net and in Finnish society as of late.
The Koskiniemi case reveals as well how publishers, editors, even politicians, turn a blind eye and even take part in these types of spiteful writings.
Since I sent the first email to Uusi Suomi on June 1 to Huusko, and three more to him, Koponen and owner Herlin,what else is there to do?
Should we throw in the towel or send the matter to the Council for Mass Media in Finland (JSN)?
Since Koskiniemi is a public figure of Finland’s third-largest political party, he is not only responsible but accountable for what he says.
Whatever the response of the JSN is, like the near-silence from Uusi Suomi, it will be highly revealing. It should, at least, give us some indication how to react to racist misinformation on the net by public figures.
At least it will tell us why this social ill is alive and kicking on the net.