NEWS | 3 May 2017

Pre-publishing: #Sipilägate and the break-up of the political bromance

By the end of 2016 the hashtag #Sipilägate is trending on Twitter, after the Finnish Prime Minister put pressure on the Finnish public broadcaster, YLE.  When the 2017 edition of Reporters without Borders’ Press Freedom Index is later published, Finland has lost its first place. Many people wonder what is happening in Finland. Today, on the World Press Freedom Day, Nordicom is pre-publishing the article #Sipilägate and the break-up of the political bromance – Crisis in the relationship between Finnish media and politicians.

When the Finnish public broadcaster YLE in November 2016 publishes an online story that infuriates Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, it becomes the starting point of an ongoing change of the entire Finnish media landscape. The relationship between media and politicians cannot longer be taken for granted. 

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä denies the allegations in the article and after repeated pressure, YLE decides to scale down on coverage and cancel follow-up stories. With this, the hashtag #Sipilägate is spreading on social media and for YLE, this is the beginning of a long-term crisis. Journalists resign and accuse editorial leaders of limiting freedom of speech. When the 2017 edition of Reporters without Borders’ Press Freedom Index is later published, Finland has dropped from first to third place. 

In the article #Sipilägate and the break-up of the political bromance – Crisis in the relationship between Finnish media and politicians, Anu Koivunen, professor of Cinema Studies at Stockholm University, is writing about #Sipilägate and the changing relationship between media and politicians that is currently taking place in Finland. 

The article will be published in Nordicom-Information 1/2017, that is being launched on May 15. But already today, on the World Press Freedom Day, we are pre-publishing the article as open access on our website

 

FInland’s Prime Minister since 2015, Juha Sipilä (the Centre Party) is a millionaire and former businessman. He has sometimes been called “a little Trump” 
IMAGE: Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva

 

About the World Press Freedom Day
The 1993 UN General Assembly proclaimed the 3rd of May to be World Press Freedom Day. This was a response to a call by African journalists, who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence. The day celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom: to monitor press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

If you want to follow the discussion and debates during the day, follow the hashtag #WPFS17 on Twitter

 

Anu Koivunen: #Sipilägate and the break-up of the political bromance – Crisis in the relationship between Finnish media and politicians. Nordicom-Information, 1/2017 

 

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MIA JONSSON LINDELL 

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