Sexual crimes are currently a hot topic in Finland, the most famous being the rape of underage girls in Oulu. As foreigners are suspected of this crime, our northern neighbours are paying close attention to the criminal records of immigrants.
The local media has dealt with the topic from various angles. One of these stories, an article published on 14 January in the Finnish National Broadcasting Yle Portal, has begun mixing in people from Estonia into this topic.
The journalist Hanna Hanhinen wrote a story titled; „ There is much more news on crime incidents involving sexual exploitation of children. Foreigners are suspected of being one fifth of all cases.“ The article lists the crimes of 2018 and with an interim title, highlighting the opinion of police investigator, Pekka Heikkinen who states that statistically people from Iraq, Afghanistan and Estonia are particularly high in this category.
The conclusions of the Yle article reached the Estonian media. The story was reviewed by ERR, Postimees, Delfi, Õhtuleht and Eesti Päevaleht. The tone of the articles is summarized by Laura Mallene’s story titled „Estonians are in third place among foreigners in the pedophile rankings in Finland“, which was published in the Eesti Päevaleht on February 4th. The Yle article has also initiated articles being published in the Russian media such as Pravda, Fontanka and the propaganda portal, Sputnik.
Propastop explored the topic thanks to a reader’s suggestion and found out that the article by Yle was frivolous and was spreading misconceptions about people of Estonian origin. The figures presented in the story are accurate but the conclusions drawn from them are misleading. The accompanying comments, headlines and quotes give the wrong impression.
Absolute figures do not allow correct conclusions
The story wrote that in 2018, there were 1400 cases of sexual crimes against children in Finland, of which 183 were committed by foreigners. Finnish citizens committed the remaining 1217 criminal sexual offenses.
The story was built on absolute numbers and does not support any conclusions about any special pedophile tendencies of people from Estonia. The article should have been actually titled; „There is much more news on crime incidents involving sexual exploitation of children. Finnish citizens represent 80% of all suspects in these cases.“
The ratios do not support the conclusions of the article
In fact, such data should not be expressed in absolute terms, but should be related to the number of people from different nationalities. We collected data on Finnish residents from different countries in a single graph and compared them to the statistics of crime in Estonia. Since the Statistical Office of Finland will not publish the 2018 data on foreigners until April of 2018, we will use the data from 2017.
It follows from the graph that the percentage of sex offenders among Finnish citizens is the same as among people from Estonia. Consequently, there is no reason to emphasize and bring out Estonia as a prominent pedophile country.
The propagandistic message that maligns people from Estonia is based on frivolous journalism.
-The Yle article provides statistics that are one-sided against Estonia, making arbitrary conclusions and amplifying misconceptions with headlines. There seems to be a desire to establish a firm position rather than analyzing the given data.
-The Estonian media amplified the misconceptions of Yle. Local journalists took the position of their Finnish colleagues without checking and then even added more spiciness to the headlines.
-In the Estonian media, the pedophiles are called Estonians, not people from Estonia, such as was written in Yle. People from Estonia may not necessarily be of Estonian nationality. Postimees, Õhtuleht, Delfi and Päevaleht, giving momentum to the conclusion, made this mistake.
Pictures: Screenshots of the headlines reflected in the postings