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Hanne Aho: “Yle administrative council can’t influence company’s journalism”

UJF president says there should be clear legislation on delineation of powers in public broadcaster.

Commenting on the recent debate on the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) concerning the decisions on journalistic content, UJF president Hanne Aho questioned the proposal to shift decision-making powers to the broadcaster’s administrative council.

“If decision-making on Yle’s strategy be transferred from the Yle board to the administrative council, people will rightly ask whether it will affect the broadcaster’s journalism,” said Aho during an interview with the commercial network MTV3, 6 March.

Aho was a guest on the breakfast show Huomenta Suomi (Goodmorning Finland) together with Yle’s former director general Mikael Jungner. They were interviewed about the government proposal for Yle’s administrative council to determine the company’s strategy.

At present, Yle’s strategy is decided by the broadcaster’s board of directors, which is composed of media specialists and staff representatives. So far, members of the company’s administrative council, which does not decide on matters of broadcasting content, have not been allowed to be on the company’s board. The administrative council is made up of politicians.

“The administrative council cannot influence the content of Yle’s journalism. There should be clear legislation on this, and politicians should know where to draw the line,” said Aho.

The UJF president said that there were also other channels that could be used to intervene in the broadcaster’s journalistic practices that should be taken into consideration.