Helsingin Sanomat published (paywall) Sunday an interview with Riikka Purra, the chairperson of the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party. Helsingin Sanomat‘s veteran reporter, Marko Junkkari, did the interview.
In general, Junkkari did a good job in handling Purra’s comments with facts and in no place in the interview did the PS chairperson dominate the interview with her answers, which did not convince.
The story’s headline, “Always the same topic,” sits well with the story. Like her predecessor Jussi Halla-aho, migration is the PS’ pet topic.
In the story, it becomes clear that Junkkari dominates the topic and is not afraid to ask Purra some uncomfortable questions. However, one matter that bothered me about the story was the use of the term “migrant.” It was used too generally, and Junkkari could have asked the PS chairperson to specify what types of migrants she refers to.
I doubt that Purra refers to white German migrants in Finland when speaking of migrants.
It is such an important topic for the party that it grew from a minor to a major party in parliament. The PS is the first party in modern Finnish history to use migration as a rallying cry for voters.
Even if Purra promised the party would expand to other topics, nothing has happened on this front.
“I’d love to talk about immigration a lot more, but it’s not a political issue that’s going to be topical at the moment,” she adds. “Immigration arouses people when, for example, there are specific security issues, such as gang crime or others.”
Moreover, journalists like Junkkari are well aware of the toxicity and harm that Purra and her party commit when they near-constantly speak of migration.
I would go as far as stating that such anti-immigration rhetoric encourages social exclusion and reinforces some Finns’ stereotypes and racist perceptions of migrants. I wonder what people would say if I spoke about white women the same way as Purra and the PS speak of migrants.
Many would be rightfully outraged, I’m certain.