The Finnish media should confront its racism problem, apologize and turn over a new leaf

by , under Enrique Tessieri


Migrant Tales has written numerous stories about how the Finnish media frames minorities and people of color. What is most incredible about his fact is that it continues in the Finnish media and even by Helsingin Sanomat, the county’s most important daily.

If there is one criticism of Finland’s media, it is, in many cases, its lack of fairness and overkill when it writes about migrants and minorities. In many cases, the scene appears like a person (the media) trying to kill an ant (Muslims) with a bazooka.

Apart from unfairness, the Finnish media is biased and unbalanced when it writes about minorities like Muslims.

Yle’s coverage of the Oulu sexual assault cases from November 27 to February 13 is a case in point. Back then, the state-owned broadcaster published a whopping 77 stories on the topic. On January 14, Yle published 13 stories about the topic.

How many people have been tried and convicted in the Oulu sexual assault cases? Only eight, but some believe that the hysteria generated by the media and politicians gave the Islamophobic Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party a significant boost in the recent parliamentary elections.

Another example of media hysteria is the hype about the fate of a handful of Finnish women and children in the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria.

Finland’s media needs to get real and to come to terms with its past and present racism, which is strongly denied. An apology and hiring minorities to the newsroom would be an essential first step.

The Finnish media could also start taking a clearer stand on racism and discrimination in our society by writing editorials. One of these topics could be on populism and how it is hreatening our Nordic way of life.
Finnish magazines like Hymy in the 1990s did not hide their racism. In this story about Lola Odusaga, elected Miss Finland in 1996, offers readers answers to the following questions: Does a black person get a tan, bruise and do teeth shine at night? See the original blog post (in Finnish) here.

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Tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti have a questionable record when it comes to coverage of minorities like Muslims in Finland. This billboard of 2015 claims that this year Finland will get 10,000 “illegal” refugees. What is an “illegal” refugee? There is no such thing. Source: Ilta-Sanomat.
An Ilta-Sanomat billboard that claims that the Somalis in the early 1990s swindled the authorities n getting refugee status. Source: Ilta-Sanomat.
Believe it or not, but in the 1990s, Somalis who would not go back to thir former homeland was big “news.” it was news to publish that the Somalis were not going back to their homeland but planned to make Finland their home. Source: llta-Sanomat.