On Friday we saw Suomen Sisu’s new president and Perussuomalaiset (PS) MP, Olli Immonen, publish an opinion piece on YLE as “news.” YLE saw the problem and changed the heading of Immonen’s column to “opinion” from “news.” Migrant Tales published part of an email from YLE explaining that since a reader of this blog considered it important, opinion and news pieces will be easily identifiable in the future.
On Monday, however, things went back to the old way: Immonen’s opinion piece, which is part of a weekly series where MPs from the Oulu region publish columns, appeared as “news.”
Any self-respecting media in our Western democratic society must make clear to the reader what is news and what is opinion. Print media in Finland does it this way but YLE appears to have a different set of rules. The line between “opinion” and “news” is hazy, which is worrying and comprises the broadcaster’s impartiality.
In countries like Britain and the United States, news organizations make certain that not only newsreaders and journalists are seen as impartial, this is the reason why news papers clearly state what is news and opinion. Even news anchors are kept from opinion programs. Why? Because it undermines credibility.
Lately we have seen this important rule blurred with the birth of news organizations like Fox.
Since YLE is supposed to be a credible broadcaster from where many people receive their news, it should do a much better job in distinguishing opinion from news.
If this is the way that YLE has done things before, the broadcaster should take a fresh look at the matter. An impartial and independent YLE , at least publicly, is the best guarantee that Finland can have that it will serve and defend the public’s interest.
…back to before.
The BBC could be a good benchmark for YLE. See how they clearly inform the reader what kind of story he or she is reading.