The headline of a Helsingin Sanomat article sparked fear on Tuesday: “Over one hundred dangerous youths wander in downtown Helsinki – according to experts, this is a new phenomenon caused by migration.”
When the Helsingin Sanomat story was published, it spread fear and with it xenophobia.
Is the newspaper article true?
In the first place, the police reported that after the article was published, crimes committed by minors have decreased between January and September, according to Superintendent Katja Nissinen.
Writes Yle News: “The paper reported that the young people had a tendency to settle conflicts with violence and to get into scuffles with kids their own age. They also used the Snapchat app to network. Later on Tuesday Helsinki police said that a small proportion of city youths got themselves into trouble committing criminal offenses. These groups included both ethnic Finnish and foreign background youngsters.”
One of the matters that the Helsingin Sanomat story reinforces is not only poorly researched journalism, but that xenophobia is alive and kicking in Finland.
The story by Finland’s largest daily was also a present to the Islamophobic PS and their spiteful politicians, which spread the narrative that Finland’s “harmful migration” is turning our country into a Sweden, where migrants riot and burn cars.
We saw this with the Oulu sexual assault cases last year. The reaction that the suspected crimes caused and the media’s reaction caused hysteria. Yle alone reported 77 stories on the topic, 13 on one day, about the sexual assault cases during November 27-February 13. During that period under review, the Oulu police published 13 statements on the topic.
Thus, if the spark “migrant” is linked to a crime, that is enough to ignite hysteria among the population and media.
Finland’s media should learn that you do not need a bazooka to kill an ant. In this case, the bazooka is the media and the ant “migrant” youths.
This type of journalism does nothing more than eat away at credibility and gives populist Islamophobic ammunition to parties like the PS.