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Finland – (C9) Watchdog function and financial resources

Score in short:

The leading news media give priority to their own material and also seek to undertake investigative journalism.

Score in detail:

Most respondents claimed that the resources for investigative journalism are adequate, but that more needs to be done to make investigative journalism part of everyday journalistic culture. Many respondents also noted that journalists themselves should be more daring and active in pursuing their own ideas and investigative stories.

The editors-in-chief interviewed maintained that ad hoc provisions for in-depth investigations are available when necessary.

Public service broadcaster YLE, which also has a specific investigative group, has exceptional resources for investigative journalism in the form of documentaries and other current affairs programming. Some newspapers, such as Helsingin Sanomat, have also experimented with independent units dedicated to investigative journalism. According to the editors-in-chief interviewed, however, this has not been workable, as it has disconnected the unit too much from the daily process of news gathering. Instead, it was suggested that investigative journalism should be integrated with daily news gathering. The local newspaper BorgÄbladet had a practice of permanently freeing one journalist from all other duties to pursue investigative journalism and in-depth reporting.

The Finnish Association of Investigative Journalism (Tutkiva) was founded in 1992 to promote critical and thorough reporting in the Finnish media. The association tries to facilitate investigative journalism by spreading information and good practices about research methods, principles of transparency, sources and source criticism by organizing discussions and training, and also by awarding an annual prize for investigative journalism.