‘True Finns’ manners growing more widespread
2018-01-15 16:15:02 -
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An Outside View - Panu Höglund

 

I am nowadays a non-person as far as Finnish-language media are concerned, after all the years the online commandos of the extreme right wing have spent slandering me. 

 

I was a web columnist for seven years, but then the lynch mob was able to have me sacked from the media portal I was working for. Although the portal provided good recommendations for me, five years ago, I have never been able to secure a new job as a blogger or journalist ever since. The mud that was thrown at me stuck, and that’s the end of it.

 

These days, however, it is difficult to find a journalist that hasn’t been harassed by the former True Finns or other online extremists. And it seems these campaigns are only becoming more common and more virulent. Now even other political parties have started aiming similar libel campaigns at common citizens they don’t agree with. This is what one unemployed person in Helsinki found out around New Year’s Day, when he put up an internet petition collecting signatures against a certain law just about to be enacted which would weaken unemployment benefits.

 

If more than 50,000 people sign this kind of petition, the law must be put on hold and resubmitted to parliament. This is a possibility that the strongest party of our present coalition, the traditional conservative party Kokoomus, does not like at all. 

 

And thus the party started to slander the man who initiated the petition, precisely the way the True Finns usually attack private citizens. The news website of the party published an article about him suggesting that he lived in an elite part of the city, and trolls started to pick on him on social media.

 

So it would seem that traditional conservatives are imitating the way right-wing populists persecute people who don’t agree with their policies. This smacks of totalitarianism. If Finland were a normal place, common citizens would be finding fault with politicians and politicians would accept it as part and parcel of their trade. But today politicians are attacking common citizens who disagree with them. And that is not what you do in a democratic state.


Panu Höglund is a Finn who writes in Irish.



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