The controversial radio presenter Kirsi Virtanen’s programme of 29 July has been reported to the Mass Media regulator.
In her programme of 29 July which was broadcast on the Finnish language channel Ylen Radio 1, Virtanen took up the theme of immigrants and immigration. The programme has caused a lot of debate and discussion in Swedish-speaking media in Finland as in the programme Virtanen stated that people from “foreign countries” are living in Eastern Helsinki, such as Somalians, Russians, Estonians, Turks – and Swedes.
She went on to state that it was ridiculous to criticise immigrants as having bad skills in Finnish so long as there are native Finns who don’t speak Finnish and don’t even want to teach their children Finnish. She said it was “hurtful” that there were Finns who didn’t learn Finnish and stated that Swedish-speaking parents who placed their children in Swedish-language day care should be “ashamed”.
Of course, Virtanen’s logic is aside from discriminative, factually inept. Finland has two national languages, Finnish and Swedish. Swedish is as much a language of Finland as the Finnish language, so it is quite right and proper that there are Finns to be found that speak Swedish and not Finnish, just as the opposite is also found (albeit in far greater numbers). It would be strange to think that two Swedish-speaking parents would choose to speak a language other than their native tongue to their children, even if they are both proficient in Finnish. And if their Finnish is not completely correct, it could be plain dangerous for the child’s future communication skills if they sought to teach it a language they themselves don’t master.
It would also do Virtanen no harm to note that the proportion of Swedish-speaking Finns who are proficient in Finnish is far, far higher than the proportion of Finnish-speaking Finns who are proficient in Swedish. She might also note that almost without exception, every Swedish-speaking Finn visiting an entirely Finnish-speaking place would seek service in Finnish (i.e. speak it in a shop etc), whereas Finnish-speaking Finns almost always speak Finnish wherever they are, even in places where Swedish is the absolute majority (or only) language.
Of course, I am sure Virtanen would say that those Finnish-speaking Finns who have, during the last decades, moved en masse to previously entirely Swedish-speaking areas should be ashamed for imposing their language on the local, native population? No, perhaps not. As, it seems to only be Swedish-speakers in Finland that are allowed to be disciminated against in the media without any action ever being taken. What absolutely is shameful is that this was broadcast on Yle and thus funded by the general public, Swedish-speaking Finns included.