Controversial trial against Finnish journalists

The Finnish prosecutor's office filed charges on Friday against three journalists from the daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomatwho published an article about military intelligence in 2017 based on classified documents. Finnish newspapers see the trial as a threat to their work.

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Lapin Kansa (FI) /

Press freedom in jeopardy

The media must not be banned from tackling sensitive topics, Lapin Kansa stresses:

“The indictment alone raises serious concerns about the freedom of the press and information. Freedom of the press means that information can be published without censorship. ... The threat of jail sentences for journalists who did their job restricts the freedom of information. If we criminalise socially important debates, soon people will no longer dare to discuss sensitive issues in public.”

Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

This amounts to censorship

Ilta-Sanomat highlights the fact that even the research for unpublished articles constitutes part of the charges:

“The charge of having intended to reveal a security-related secret is particularly alarming: it concerns articles that Helsingin Sanomat never published. Journalists have an inviolable right to research any topic - especially if it is a topic of social relevance. ... If a planned publication can lead to a conviction, that is pre-censorship. The court proceedings will go on for a long time. If the Helsingin Sanomat journalists are convicted it will have a devastating impact on Finnish journalism.”