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Ombud rules finance ministry acted wrongfully in blacklisting journalist

UJF welcomes ruling as yellow card to officialdom.

The Ombudsman has criticized the behaviour of the Ministry of Finance in 2015 for refusing to grant interviews and accreditation to an information briefing to freelance journalist Jari Hanska by claiming that he had previously violated the Guidelines for Journalists.

Hanska was twice refused access as a journalist to the finance ministry, first when he requested a interviews with two officials and subsequently when he applied to attend a background briefing on the reform of central securities depositories.

The ministry’s director of communications alleged that Hanska had misused previous interviews he had recorded with two officials, which were used in a Ryhmä Theatre production and not for the newspaper Voima, as Hanska had claimed.

Hanska countered that he had made it clear which interviewed would be used for the paper and which for Ryhmä Theatre. He then took his case to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman ruled that the refusal to grant Hanska access to the ministry was “contrary to the principle of proportionality and the principle of equality”, as it related to different events that had happened years before.

Hanska said that he is satisfied with the Ombudsman’s censure of the ministry’s efforts to discredit him.

UJF lawyer Jussi Salokangas also welcomed the ruling. “It means that in the future no authority or official will be allowed to behave in the same manner.”