Cookie Consent by Free Privacy Policy Generator

Finland – (E10) Rules and practices on internal pluralism

Score in short:

Internal pluralism is encouraged and valued, but aside from general professional guidelines and values, there are few formal rules.

Score in detail:

None of the media in the sample were officially associated with a particular party or an ideology, but like almost all other leading news media, they subscribe to the ideals of independence, balance and pluralism. Most of the editors-in-chief emphasized that they do not believe in “quota-journalism”, stipulated by detailed rules, but that they see balance and pluralism as more general values that guide journalism. These values are also typically enshrined in the general professional guidelines and mission statements. Internal debate between different perspectives is also considered to be a routine part of the journalistic work.

In newspapers, the official line of the newspaper is expressed in the editorials, but according to the editors-in-chief interviewed, the editorials do not in any way guide news selection or otherwise limit the range of perspectives. Helsingin Sanomat and Iltalehti, for instance, have a policy of encouraging internal pluralism, including opinions that diverge from the main editorial line.

In some of the media, there are more explicit rules for providing equal space for all candidates before the elections or for regulating the opportunities of candidates to act as columnists. YLE also claims to constantly monitor the political and regional balance in its reporting. others noted that balance is monitored through audience feedback and internal discussions.

All respondents insisted that the readers’ letters sections are open to all sides, and that it is an intentional aim of the section to initiate debate between different perspectives and bring forward diverging views. The proportion of letters published range from around 20-25 % in Helsingin Sanomat to practically all letters submitted in the local newspaper Borgåbladet. The respondents did note, however, that some limits to curtail the most contentious material, such as racist views, may be necessary.