The wrong question by Helsingin Sanomat that feeds anti-immigration sentiment and undermines human rights

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Helsingin Sanomat’s election or vote compass questions say a lot about how the Finnish media approaches and writes about asylum and migration issues. Martin Scheinin, international law and human rights professor at the European Institute University, raises an important point about how the newspaper approaches asylum policy. 

Scheiin tweets: “Hesari [Helsingin Sanomat] feeds anti-immigration sentiment that ignores Finland’s human rights’ obligation by juxtaposing[political] parties wrongly [on topics like] asylum. [The proper] question one should ask is whether Finland should comply whole-heartedly with its human rights obligations.”

Read the original tweet here.

While the Helsingin Sanomat election compass asks potential voters two questions about migration policy, an article by it publishes the following questions answered by the different parties. One of these is should Finland tighten asylum policy.

Most of the parties (National Coalition Party, Center Party, Blue Reform, Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, Christian Democrats, Seitsemän tähden liike) said they would tighten asylum policy. The Social Democrats and Liike nyt stated that asylum policy should remain unchanged while only the Greens, Leftwing Alliance and the Swedish People’s Party were in favor of loosening asylum policy.

The view that Helsingin Sanomat takes about asylum policy sheds light why human rights are on the defensive these days. It also shows why most mainstream parties are eagerly parroting the PS’ Islamophobic and anti-immigration rhetoric.

The Perussuomalaiset (PS) party imploded on June 13, 2017, 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 never mind Muslims and other visible minorities. One is more open about it while the other says it in a different way.

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.