The reply by Finns Party (PS)* Minister Wille Rydman aide to Suddeutsche Zeitung’s Alex Rühle is a clear example of how the minister and his party hold the free media in contempt.
About thirty years ago as the Financial Times correspondent in Finland, a foreign ministry official suggested that I get in touch with him before publishing anything on Helsinki-Moscow relations. I considered it an infringement on my rights as a journalist. A scandal ensued.
It appears that Minister Rydman and his aide, Tuulia Alanko, have crossed a line by telling Rühle which sources he should not use in order to “report correctly” about the government.
I was not able to confirm through Rühle if the two messages published in Suomen Uutiset are authentic. However, Suomen Uutiset is the PS’ official newspaper.
A question emerges: Did Rühle give permission to Rydman’s office to make public these two messages?
Moreover, the language used by Alanko is further proof of the disdain that the minister has for the media.
In the reply blow, Alanko warns Rühle of “extreme leftist” Professor Martin Scheinin, and Helsingin Sanomat and Amanda Blick, Rydman’s former girlfriend, have no credibility because they are under preliminary police investigation. Moreover, he mistakenly calls Yaron Nadbornik “the leader of Finnish Jews.” He is the chairperson of the Jewish community of Helsinki.
The nerve of Rydman’s office is shown in the following “friendly” recommendation: “Minister Rydman urges you to get substantially better sources for your news than the current ones, so that they do not repeatedly give a completely wrong image of Finland.”
Source: Suomen Uutiset
The Suddeutsche Zeitung’s Nordic correspondent sent Minister Rydman the following questions, to which he did not respond. “The minister’s reasoning was that the allegations presented in the questions do not align with the actual content of the HS story,” wrote Alanko. “Additionally, he believes that the German translations of the claims in the HS article further exaggerate them. Minister Rydman has stated his intention to potentially pursue legal action against Helsingin Sanomat in light of these developments.”
The questions that Rühle asked had directly to do with the messages that were published by Helsingin Sanomat.
- Did you send Amanda Blick text messages comparing lilies of the valley to resemble Somalis?
- Did you send Amanda Blick text messages in which you refer to people from the Middle East as “desert monkeys?”
- Did you send Amanda Blick a text message saying, “We Nazis don’t really like that kind of Jew stuff.”
- If so, how do you feel about those statements today?
Apparently, because Minister Rydman is pursuing legal action against Helsingin Sanomat, it means that Alanko does not have to answer such difficult questions.
The response by Minister Rydman’s office reveals is highly problematic and an affront against the free media.