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Hanne Aho: Finnish News Agency needs urgent government assistance

The serious financial straits facing the commercial media are adversely impacting STT, the Finnish News Agency. So much so that existence of the 130-year-old wire service is in jeopardy.

Hanne Aho, the UJF president, warned that the field of journalism is being eroded.

“Journalism is crucially important for democracy and social stability. We cannot stand on the sidelines and watch it atrophy, and wait for it to get fixed.”

One of the world’s oldest news agencies, STT is an important national institution in Finland that fulfills a basic function of journalism: to provide accurate and relevant information on world events to the public via its clients. It provides the commercial news media with a basis on which to build up its own general and local news. If STT is allowed to perish, all of society will suffer, as it benefits from having a news agency that bolsters media pluralism.

Finland needs the Nordic level media support system, which will be geared to long-term support models. Support should aim at generating domestic journalistic content and new technological innovation.

“But STT can’t wait around until the new media support system is worked out and set up. STT needs urgent government support. A properly funded and regulated STT could be an equitable support model that everyone requiring news can use,” Said Hanne Aho.

“If STT was made into a non-profit making company and the payment rationale was such that small media outlets could also buy its services, support for STT would be support on an equal basis for the entire commercial media.”