Finns Party MP would base immigration restrictions on nationality (YLE in English)
Why this story misses the point. A story published Thursday by YLE and later translated into English by the same news service is a perfect example of how the national media is taken for a ride by anti-immigration groups like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*. True, immigrant can be defined as someone who has lived more than a year in the country irrespective if the person sought asylum, but since this is not explained in the story a distorted picture emerges. Even so, the Suomen Perusta report doesn’t even mention the UN definition but uses its own.
In my opinion there are three important points lacking in the story:
- Somalians and Germans are grouped as “immigrants” in the PS thinktank report. YLE forgets to mention that the Somalis that came to Finland as refugees. The PS may be inclined to use the term “immigrants” since it believes that refugees from Somalia may not be “real” refugees but so-called “welfare shoppers.” The 75-page report by Suomen Perusta only uses the term “refugee” once;
- They mention that the idea of restricting immigration from certain regions is the suggestion of one PS MP and not that of the whole party. PS MP Juho Eerola, who made the suggestion, is third vice president of the anti-immigration party. Certainly he must represent the whole party;
- YLE uses a black hand to drive home the stereotype that “bad” immigration is black. Very commonly the Finnish media uses pictures of Muslim women or of black people to go with a news story about immigration.
The story should have made the distinction between migrant and refugee or at least the reporter should have explained why the term immigrant was used for a group like the Somalis who have 99.9% come to Finland as asylum seekers. By not clearing us this point we get a distorted picture and paint immigrants that come to Finland with a single brush. When they speak of restricting immigrant policy are they really talking about refugee policy? Did anyone ask Eerola if its his or the party’s opinion that Finland should start to restrict certain groups from coming to Finland? Use a white hand in the picture instead of a black one. This latest story is a good example of how YLE reporters should be careful about becoming rubber stamps of anti-immigration parities like the PS.
One journalist that I approached claimed that Somalis in Finland are immigrants. Are they? Yes, by UN definition if they have lived more than a year. But that definition is deceptive because it erases the reasons why people from war-torn countries like Somalia come to Finland. Let’s look at the chart below:
See original posting here. For more definitions of refugee go here or directly to UNHCR. The United Nation defines migrant as anyone who an individual who has lived in a foreign country for more than one year “irrespective of the causes, voluntary or involuntary, and the means, regular or irregular, used to migrate.”
Read full story here.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.