When racism goes viral in Finland

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Sakari Timonen is one of the best anti-racism bloggers in Finland. He writes this time about a Marko Sihvonen, who made up a story on a Facebook post that a member of the Romany minority, one of the few that come here to ask for money on the streets, knifed a white Finnish girl and kicked the corpse in Turku’s Aura River. The girl was apparently found a couple of hours later.

Sihvonen continues: ”The killer is still on the loose. I spoke with a witness after the police had questioned the person.”

After the story went viral, Turku-based daily, Turun Sanomat, published a story by Sihvonen was posted when he was drunk and a hoax.

Näyttökuva 2014-8-15 kello 0.29.00
Read full posting (in Finnish) here.


According to the daily, no charges will be brought by the police against Sihvonen but he’ll be sent a bill by the rescue department that went to look for the corpse.

Another story that circulated as a rumor on Sunday took place in the western city of Kokkola, where supposedly a foreign-looking man had raped a white Finnish woman and was still at large. The police had to send a statement that was published by tabloid Iltalehti that the story was made up by the woman.

While these types of made-up stories show the malice that some people have towards migrants and minorities, instigating a social-media witch hunt can be beneficial to some seeking political office.

Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MEP Jussi Halla-aho claimed in 2010 with Muutos 2011 MP James Hirvisaari, who was sacked from the PS after he posting a picture of a friend making a Nazi salute in parliament, went viral after they claimed that a nineteen-year-old asylum-seeker had raped a seventeen-year-old girl from Lammila.

The rape case never got to court because it was apparently made up.

Both Halla-aho and Hirvisaari, who were running at the time for parliament, got a lot of media attention. Both got elected to parliament.



* 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.

  1. Yossie

    Works both ways. There was the case where an immigrant girl supposedly got pushed out of the tram. Made it to headlines for weeks in search for witnesses but ultimately there was nothing found to prove the story.

    Also some people even go as far as to mistranslating what other people have wrote to make them look bad.