Finns Party’s councillor to be investigated for social media posts

Chairperson Jussi Halla-aho and deputy chairperson Laura Huhtasaari of the Finns Party spoke to the press in Helsinki on 4 August, 2017. Both Halla-aho and Huhtasaari were elected to key positions within the party in early June.

Kirsi Pimiä, the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman in Finland, has revealed that a pre-trial investigation is set to be opened into statements made on social media by Sebastian Tynkkynen (PS), a councillor for the City of Oulu, in the run-up to the municipal elections held on 9 April, 2017.

Pimiä estimates that the campaign ran by the outspoken councillor was partly racist and widened social divisions.

Tynkkynen, for example, asked voters to report how immigration has affected their sense of security, tells Pimiä.

“He then published a number of accounts without details about their sources. No one was able to tell whether they were fictional or accurate. I think he tried to pit people against each other,” she said in an interview with Uusi Suomi on Friday.

Tynkkynen voiced his surprise with the news in his blog and pointed out that he has yet been notified which of his social media posts are under investigation.

“I’m waiting to hear exactly what I’m accused of, if I’m accused of anything,” he wrote on Saturday.

The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, Finnish League for Human Rights and Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations (ETNO) in November agreed with political parties to monitor the use of social media by candidates in the run-up to the municipal elections. The Finns Party, similarly to all other political parties in Finland, is also a signatory to the Charter of European Political Parties for a Non-Racist Society.

Pimiä reveals that the Finns Party and the Christian Democrats were both notified of suspected hate speech by their candidates during the municipal election campaigns. The Christian Democrats addressed the issue pro-actively, whereas the Finns Party demonstrated an unwillingness to take action, she says.

“This shows that they have no respect whatsoever for [the charter]. This demonstrates utter indifference,” says Pimiä.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Photo: Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva

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