Sunday, March 4, 2012

Scandinavian Democracy Myth: Focus on Finnish Censorship and Language Law

Through FDA contacts on the ground in the Finland, the FDA received the following information from the Finnish Alliance, an organization promoting Finnish democracy and freedom of expression. The Finnish author argues that the Finnish government has been censoring for decades information about the history of Finland with Sweden and Swedish projects in Finland. Finnish Swedes account for 5 percent of the Finnish population, and yet they have legislated special privileges in Finland as demonstrated by the Finnish Language Act:

"Everything what I write is on the website is true and from my own experience.

I tell this time about Finnish media only and especially about how it has censored through the Language Law since 1999.

Heikki Tala anxiously told more about the threat, the court was ready to confiscate our property! Luckily this did not happen, the government = court did not ban our organization.

If Finland considers itself as a democracy, it just cannot ban any peaceful organization.

However, I think that there is no longer any more danger to be banned; our current chairman Sampo Terho is a member of the European Parliament.

I think that this was a brutal and anti-democratic try by the Finnish government and President Halonen to close our website, where the Finnish Alliance criticized the Language Law and our neighboring country, Sweden.

President Halonen mentioned on TV a possibility to ban the Finnish Alliance, maybe in 2003 or 2004, in Swedish only. Most Finns watch Finnish TV only and don't know anything about this discussion.

All public discussion in the Finnish media by politicians about the Language Law and related things are in Swedish only; for decades as I have witnessed this since 2000.

I was a member of the board of the Finnish Alliance in 2001 to 2007. President Ahtisaari nominated the committee of the Language Law in 1999, but media (TV and newspapers) were silent about it. I heard for the first time about this in 2000 when I visited the Finnish Alliance and joined it. Suomen Kuvalehti magazine published in February 2003 a survey about how little people know about the Language Law. Very little; most Finns have not even heard about this law.

We saw almost complete censorship in the media from the Language Law during the legislative process from 1999 to 2003. The committee of the Language Law was carefully hidden from the Finnish people. And since 2003 the Finnish TV has never mentioned the Language Law. From 1999 to 2003 I saw just two mentions about this law in YLE TV news, both in January 2003. Other TV channels were totally silent about this law.

From 1999 to 2002 there were not mentions about this law on TV. And newspapers were almost totally silent (censored) about this law, just few reader's letter in minor newspapers, but not in largest ones, such as Helsingin Sanomat and Aamulehti which censored this subject very efficiently.

I've done a resume about this in Finnish:

Very biased news on January 26, 2003 from YLE broadcasting company, which actually told nothing about this strict law.

Lawmaking procedure in Finland with complete censorship in the media!

In 2005 the New York Times wrote about the Language Law of Finland. This New York Times article was well written and told the world something what our government has been hiding from its citizens. Most Finns don't know anything about privileges of the Swedes in Finland. Censorship is complete about subjects related to Sweden as a country and its past, as well as the status of Swedish minority (5 % of the pop.) in Finland.

The Finnish elite broadcasts false and biased knowledge about the history of Finland. Sweden is almost always describes as a friend who never did anything bad against Finns, in schools, universities and articles published in Finnish magazines and newspapers.

Especially older generations are brainwashed by this pro-Swedish (and prior to 1991 pro-Soviet) propaganda. This biased knowledge has been broadcasted to the Finns for decades.

But it's not the truth, not at all. As I have written in my website in Finnish:

I published (as a webmaster) this ethnic cleansing of 1918 on the website of the Finnish Alliance in 2001. Number of articles and TV programs are made about the Civil War of 1918, without any mention of this ethnic cleansing.

Recently on October 2011 I was on a lecture held by a professor of history (Hannu Rautkallio). He gave a hint that there are things which are not suitable to research, in the universities of Finland.

Censorship is very strict in the Finnish media about history and Swedish subjects. I have experienced this many times, for decades.

Presently, the situation of the Finnish Alliance is stable and OK. I visited its annual meeting in Helsinki in November 2011, where Heikki Tala held a presentation about Winter War of Finland.

The number of members of the Finnish Alliance is about 1000 people.

" Between 1990 and 2003 Taloustutkimus Oy conducted a series of more than ten surveys for Suomalaisuuden liitto (= the Finnish Alliance), an organisation opposing mandatory Swedish. According to these surveys, 66–72% of Finns were "in favour of voluntary Swedish education or against mandatory Swedish education".

These findings are consistent with the FDA electoral fairness audit of Finland, in which the FDA measured severe deficiencies in Finland's electoral finance and media laws. In addition, FDA measured similar deficiencies in Sweden's electoral system.

2011 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report of Sweden

Finnish Language Law


  1. I know many subjects which mainstream media does not present at all in Finland.

    I was on the board of the Finnish Alliance during the legislative process and I saw almost complete censorship about the language law from 1999 to 2003.
    Finnish TV anchor Eva Polttila is misleading viewers about the language law, on January 26, 2003. She told vaguely and hardly anything about the law. This is the only time ever when YLE Broadcasting Company has told about the language law, from 1999 to 2003 and ever since!

    Other TV channels have told even less. MTV3 has told practically nothing about the language law, it has just mentioned it few times over the years. As far as I know, Finnish TV channel Nelonen has never mentioned the language law.

    Who are responsible for this censorship?

  2. Finland maintains good relations with neigbors, at any cost, sacrifying truth and a lot of money. Mandatory Swedish has also influenced to the fact that Finns know foreign languages some what less than Swedes or other Europeans. It has been estimated to decrease the GNP of Finland by billions of euros annually.

    There are actually more Finnish-speakers in Sweden than Swedish-speakers in Finland, but Sweden never even considered providing any Finnish teaching in schools.

    * Sweden awarded a high-rank honorary decoration to Pekka Hallberg and many other members of the language law committee.

    The University of Helsinki closed the website of student Henri Turunen on November 8th, 2007. An obvious reason was that he criticized mandatory swedish.

    In the University of Helsinki using Finnish language was partially banned and professors harassed the Finnish-speakers, from the mid-19th century to the 1930s. Only
    after bitter fighting and demonstrations, Finnish language was accepted.


Thank you for sharing your perspective.