Oulu 2019: Is the media going to allow the PS to pull another fast one on it?

by , under Enrique Tessieri

What kind of reaction can you expect from a country that continues to see foreigners like Muslims and other people of color as a threat?

Remember Oulu and the sexual harassment cases that spun out of control thanks to the fuel that politicians, the media, and the police were feeding? It’s déjà-vu again: politicians, the media, and the police are at it again.

Instead of sexual harassment of minors caused by asylum seekers, we now have youth gangs “of foreign background” terrorizing our streets.

The first story I found was published six days after Sweden’s September 11 election, where youth gang violence was turned into a political campaign issue by the far-right Sweden Democrats and the National Coalition Party’s sister party, Moderates. The knife in the picture is intended for extra drama. Source: MTV

Let’s go back to 2019.

The media, politicians, and the police caved into their exaggerated lies by turning an important issue into a storm in a teacup.

It was a social media lynching like I have rarely seen in Finland. While politicians will go to any lengths to get votes, a black stain remains on the media and police.

Has the media and police learned anything from the Oulu case?

Very little.

With the help of the radical-right Perussuomalaiset*, the Finnish media has turned youth gang violence into a national issue where even President Sauli Niinistö put in his two cents.

President Niinistö’s message reinforces what I have stated before: He isn’t and never was the president of all Finns, never mind that of our non-white communities.

Like the Oulu sexual assault cases, the youth gang topic will disappear after the parliamentary election in April. It will disappear because it is all a political stunt:
– Parties like the PS and National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) are luring voters.
– The police want more funds for policing.
– The media wants more viewers and ads.
– Our inferiority complex needs a shot of exceptionalism.

Disagree? Am I overreacting like the politicians, media, and police are?

Some friendly suggestions:

  • When we speak of a “rising” problem, we rarely, if ever, get any hard statistical facts to back such a claim.
  • The media do not approach and interview people of color.
  • There is a lot of finger-pointing but no solutions.
  • We give space to the xenophobic diatribe of parties like the PS, but we don’t ask seriously if the reaction justifies the problem.
  • Why is youth gang violence a problem now that requires national attention?

Despite all the fear-mongering and labeling, it is a good sign that papers like Helsingin Sanomat are questioning the populism and hardline stance to solve the “problem” by parties like the PS and Kokoomus.

The media could stop the fear-mongering if it dug deeper and were more critical.

Time will tell if politicians can fool the media as they did in Oulu.