Monday, July 2, 2012

Finnish Corporate Media Working for Swedish Interests?

Below is commentary on Finnish democracy and media by Ari Luiro (member of the Finnish Alliance) and Leo Havukainen, a retired Finnish official. These Finns respond to the Finnish government's recent decision to add Swedish language to public school curriculum (among other changes), and the fact that major Finn media (YLE, MTV3, Nelonen) did not report this particular government decision. Mr. Luiro and Mr. Havukainen believe that the Finnish government and media are colluding with Swedish interests and at the expense of Finnish sovereignty and interests. In a democracy, the government ought to be an extension of the people and their interests as a whole. The private and public media has more latitude, but has constraints on content within extremes.

Commentary: 

Mr. Ari Luiro:

"....Here are my theoretical thoughts on democracy.

In shaping democracy we do our best, but we have to admit to ourselves that democracy can never be perfect. At best it may be good enough for most, but never perfect.

Shaping democracy is a continuous and never ending process.

Freedom of speech is an essential part of democracy.

Discussion about anything should never be suppressed by any party. If a government discourages people to talk about certain subjects, it limits freedom of speech and democracy. This has taken place a number of time in my country.

Democracy could be called as a dynamic process, not a dogmatic theory.

Democratic thoughts should follow all human interests.

Democracy should be practical. It should defend people's rights, as well as their duties.

All people are equal. All people have the right to express their opinion.

All nations are equal....


I got the idea of the flexibility of democracy from a Finnish book by Urho Kekkonen, which was published in 1934.

He was the President of Finland (1956–1982). I do not share his political views when he was the president, but I appreciate him in many ways. I have read his interesting writings, he was a very intelligent person.

He was a keen member of the Finnish Alliance. Urho Kekkonen's many analyses of the language situation in Finland were excellent. They were published in the magazine of the Finnish Alliance in the 1920s and 1930s, and later in his many books - but rarely if ever in Finnish media since 1970s, as far as I can remember.

* Few people know that Finnish students organized demonstrations for Finnish education and their equality in Helsinki in the 1930s. Today's books, TV and newspapers tell almost nothing about these demonstrations. But the public has the right to know....


Here are pictures of Finnish students demonstration in Helsinki. They protested against Swedish teaching at the University of Helsinki and for Finnish education and their own equality. The majority of the students were Finnish, but teaching at the University was only partly in Finnish. And there were many other injustices. - Today's situation is much better.

All the pictures are from Suomen Kuvalehti magazine, No 4, 1935:







To National Resurrection says the placard, and the other placard below Snellman's program should be finished. This alludes to national philosopher J V Snellman's idea that Finland should have just one official language, Finnish. The text: Students with their badge "To National Resurrection".

This demonstration and related things are hidden in Finnish media.

Some Finnish Internet sites like blogs have disappeared mysteriously when someone has added information on hidden subjects. This is the reason why an Internet site should be created on a foreign website.

A retired official Leo Havukainen said on November 22, 2009 that many newspapers have removed readers' posts, including his own posts, which he wrote under his own name. We can apply the rule: the bigger a newspaper is the less it allows the public to talk about hidden subjects on its website. Some smaller newspapers still allow the public to talk about foreign language teaching in Finnish schools.

Leo Havukainen writes objectively and reasonably. Even two out of three posts have been removed. Like the majority of the Finns, he is against mandatory teaching of the Swedish language. He has talked on this subject on TV and Internet.

But rather than information, the television corporations spread the government's propaganda, like yesterday on MTV3 News.


Leo Havukainen:

Generally speaking (I think) Finland is one of the most democratic countries (free democratic elections, the right to say and to meet and so on). However, Finnish democracy is not perfect (as Leo Lurio says); far from it. Some topics are almost forbidden or prevented; before the relations with the Soviet Union and nowadays criticism of immigration and language affairs.

I belong to Finns, who want freedom for students to choose themselves what languages they learn at school. About 70 % of the Finns want the mandatory Swedish voluntary or optional. The reason is that it takes time to learn important world languages and the Swedish is not important for us. However, our politicians want still to raise Swedish demands (earlier at school, for officials serve Swedish interests). And all this for the minority of 5 percent Swedes living in Finland! I ask, where in the world does the majority must read by coercion language the minority of 5 percent? And the Swedish language is not a world language.

Very strange in Finland is that the discussion of the mandatory Swedish language is suppressed. The politicians don´t hear the majority and (what is the worst) don´t want even discuss the matter. The media (TV and newspapers) are silent. We can speak almost only on websites. The situation is an odd travesty of democracy!

In my writings I mention three different ways to kill the free discussion or communication in public media:

1. to tell the matters with dishonesty (few lies among the facts)
2. not to tell the matter at all (or quite too insufficiently)
3. to censor writings

As regards the mandatory Swedish language, point 2 occurs and it is a real threat to democracy or communication in Finland.

The media was almost silent, when the Finnish Language Law (2003) was presented in the parlament (and also before that).

That law is the most important to the citizens, and yet everything happened almost in secret. The politicians and the media are guilty of that. The other example was the corresponding Language Law (2009) in Sweden. The Finnish media this time was absolutely silent. That law was for us a very important event, because the Swedish Language Law is such, which 70 % of Finns would want to an equivalent law in Finland.

The point 1 is not a serious threat in Finland.
The point 3 is unfortunately at least in a slight amount a real in Finland. As Leo Luiro said, it happens in Finland. Also I have lost some writings in websites."

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