MTV: Normalizing racism and bigotry in Finland with Jussi Halla-aho’s help

by , under Enrique Tessieri

After attending a European Network Against Racism in Brussels that ended Saturday, I discovered on my arrival to Finland that Perussuomalaiset (PS)* Chairman Jussi Halla-aho, convicted for ethnic agitation in 2012 and who built his political career on Islamophobia, is now a columnist in MTV, Finland’s largest privately owned television station. 

The big question is why Halla-aho and what does it say about the hostile anti-immigration and anti-cultural diversity atmosphere in Finland?

It reveals, in my opinion, the continuing role of the media in normalizing racism and bigotry in this country.

Few will disagree that the PS under Halla-aho’s leadership is now unmistakably a far-right party that belongs in the same league as Marine Le Pen’s Front Nationale, Sweden Democrats, Danish People’s Party, AfD of Germany, UKIP, among others.

Cartoon by Sira Moksi.

In a statement by MTV3 managing editor Ilkka Ahtiainen, he justifies inviting Halla-aho because he’s chairman of the PS.

Fine, but there is one flaw in his statement that exposes a problem in the debate on our ever-growing cultural diverse society in Finland: It is a friendly debate only between white Finns.

Ahtiainen states at the end of his statement:

“In the best of cases, this [Halla-aho’s column] will undermine polarization, which is easy to succumb to on social media.”

Sorry Ahtianen, what you have done is not undermine “us” and “them” in Finland but fueled racism and bigotry by playing it down and normalizing such social ills. Moreover, it shows as well the desperation of the media to attract viewers and advertising revenues.

Moreover, it shows to what lengths the media will go to attract viewers and increase advertising revenues.

Read the full story in Finnish here.

It always amazes me when white Finnish-speaking Finns believe that they know the answer on how to end racism in Finland. They can say and believe such things because they are not affected by it and, importantly, they benefit from the power and privilege they get from being white.

Near everything concerning laws that impact migrants and minorities, as well as the ongoing debate, is dictated by white Finns. Migrants and minorities have little say never mind power to put their points across.

Ahtiainen’s and MTV’s justification for inviting Halla-aho only reinforce the latter.

* After the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13 into two factions, the PS and New Alternative, which is now called Blue Reform. Despite the name changes, we believe that it is the same party in different clothing. Both factions are hostile to cultural diversity.  One is more open about it while the other is more diplomatic. 

A direct translation of Perussuomalaiset in English would be something like “basic” or “fundamental Finn.” Official translations of the Finnish name of the party, such as Finns Party or True Finns, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and racism. We, therefore, at Migrant Tales prefer to use in our postings the Finnish name of the party once and after that the acronym PS.