Migrant Tales update I: A PS councilman’s “justified” racism

by , under All categories, Enrique

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.

  1. JusticeDemon

    JSN is the obvious next port of call. Focus the complaint on the owner’s failure to act, and hold that focus by responding to all interim rejoinders as statements issued on the owner’s behalf.

    The offence of ethnic agitation carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for two years, and so charges must be brought within five years of the offence. In this case the offence is ongoing until the offending content has been taken down, so the five-year period has not yet begun to run. This means that there is plenty of time to allow JSN to investigate the case before reporting it as a criminal offence.

    • Enrique

      JusticeDemon, thank you for the important advice. I must admit that I am pretty disappointed at Uusi Suomi. It was a bit like what happened with the African in Jyväskylä that got hit and harassed in public. Not only is getting in touch with the police difficult for some people to report such a crime, the police don’t seem to be very enthused about receiving such calls from victims. Add to this language barriers and it really becomes an uphill task.

      The police in Pieksämäki told me after numerous calls that I was wasting my time reporting such harassment. Another policeman from Mikkeli, who spoke to us, said that they should walk away from such attacks. He compared these harassments to when he goes to his hometown and the locals always joke with him about being a policeman.

      These minor cases show a wider problem that has turned into a pretty big problem.

  2. JusticeDemon

    A certain amount of bureaucratic resistance is normal in public service, and learning to insist on service is part of the integration process for immigrants. In cases of the kind that you describe, I normally fire off a quick e-mail to the local nimismies suggesting that the counter staff may have been a little overzealous in prioritising their work, and asking the more senior official either to provide an explanation or (alternatively) to rectify any default that may have occurred. This usually has the desired effect.

  3. Allan

    Why are you trying to deny the publication of an inconvenient truth? Maybe it is biased, but on the other hand I have never seen you ever write any corrections to the misrepresentations you have written in this blog?

    Besides which, you have no proof whatsoever that Koskenniemi is actually wrong. The Rovaniemi officials hide behind the veil of “data privacy”.

  4. JusticeDemon


    What specific “truth” are you talking about? Why don’t you formulate it for us and explain it here plainly?

    You have no proof whatsoever that all those headlines from the Swedish tabloid press in the early 1970s (En Finne Igen) were “actually wrong”.

  5. Mary Mekko

    Too bad I can’t read Finnish. But if what Hemmo Koskiniemi writes is NOT true, can you, Enrique, tell me what this immigrant really is receiving, and on what basis he qualifies to take it from the Finnish taxpayer?

    In other words, let all of us foreigners know if we can come and have what this fellow is getting, instead of us staying where we are and working, supporting our own illegal migrants.

    I have often considered that it might indeed be nice to live in Finland, such a great country and people, and on top of that, do it for free with Finnish welfare money!

    Do let us know how to be qualified, and how much exactly the fellow REALLY IS GETTING.

    Quite a clever little reindeer in Rovaniemi, whoever he is…

    P.S. Would I qualify for a free ride if I am “white”?