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Petri Savolainen: “Radio licensing must take account of diversity”

The UJF has responded to the announcement by the Ministry of Transport and Communications concerning the future of radio licensing.

The ministry announced in a memorandum issued early March that it intends to radically shift the emphasis of appraisal in granting licenses away from content-based considerations. Instead, the focus would in future be on applicants’ commercial capacity for radio broadcasting.

For the most part, conditions related to the locality and content of radio stations would be jettisoned.

The UJF considers the envisaged change to be unwarranted. And it is apparent from the ministry’s memorandum that the radio broadcasting sector is generally  happy with the current licensing arrangement.

In its statement to the ministry, the UJF stresses the importance of local journalism.

“It nurtures community and identity, and produces information and subject matter for people about their surroundings that they wouldn’t otherwise obtain from anywhere else. Local media plays a key role in engendering democracy.

UJF head of advocacy Petri Savolainen considers the ministry’s passion for focusing in this matter only on dismantling norms to be bizarre.

“There’s good basic material in the ministry’s memorandum. The backdrop is the January memo of Prof. Päivi Korpisaari, according to which it is important to pay attention to commercial considerations when allocating licenses, in addition to issues of ubiety and content,” Savolainen explained.

The UJF has given its response to the ministry on the matter unsolicited.

“I’m surprised that the ministry did not ask us or the Radio and TV Journalists Union for an opinion. We are organisations in the sector and the issue concerns our members,” said Savolainen.