#Astudio host Marja Sannikka kicks off the next topic on the talk show on gang violence with the following words that sound like a thriller: “Knives, violence, revenge. Finnish youth gang crime grows at a worrying pace.”
In the talk show, does Sannikka gives us any facts about “the worrying [growth] pace” of gang violence in Finland? Instead, she speaks to four youths in the Vantaa neighborhood of Tikkurilla who give their views on the topic without any facts.
“I think matters have got worse in the past two years,” says one, “while another says that “people act more aggressively than before.” Knives and other weapons are more common, according to them.
While – again, without any statistical data – it takes about 10 minutes for Sannikka to mention that magic scapegoat word, “person of foreign background.” According to her, the police claim that 90% of the gang members are “people of foreign background.”
If you make such a claim, the host should back it up with facts. Moreover, how many so-called “people of migrant backgrounds” belong to gangs? 90%? 70%? 30%? 1%? 0.001%?
Most first- and second-generation Finns don’t belong to gangs and do something more useful with their time.
Why does Sannikka use #astudio to label and victimize all migrant youths?
Police officer Markku Heinikari has no answers about the roots of this problem and what to do about it. Mika Mehmet, the social worker who grew up in two cultures, mentioned that it had to do with belonging and a weak sense of identity.
Sannikka did her best to keep the false argument afloat that youth gang violence is growing and a threat to Finland, Heinikari, and Mehmet were more cautious, stating that Finland doesn’t have the same problems as Sweden. One of the most important questions nobody asked was why youth gang violence is an issue today.
There are several answers to why youth gang violence is a heated topic in Finland:
- Since the far-right Sweden Democrats used gang violence successfully as a campaign issue, the Perussuomalaiset (PS) wants to copy the same formula.
- Parliamentary elections in April.
- Gang violence is also a good campaign message for the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus).
- Inadequate social services (less spoken about but an important matter).
- Institutional racism and how it is an obstacle to getting ahead in Finland.
PS vice president Leena Meri reinforced the campaign topic on the talk show. It’s the same message of the Sweden Democrats. There are no solutions to a social problem except for longer prison terms and deportations.
The xenophobic hype we are seeing on talk shows like #astudio is a sad reminder of how elections don’t encourage democracy per se but an opportunity for bully parties to attack vulnerable groups.