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Union president welcomes Yle review

Yle commissions external review of its journalistic decision-making.

Responding to news that Yle has ordered an external investigation into its journalistic management practices, UJF president Hanne Aho said the review must be done openly and fairly. “It should be done in such a way that all sides are heard, including those that haven’t previously dared to say anything.”

In her message to members last Christmas, Aho wrote of the need for an external evaluation of Yle’s operations. Her proposal was reported by among others the union magazine Journalisti.

“I was hoping for it for two reasons,” said Aho. “Firstly, people need to be able to get on with their work at Yle. But it isn’t just an internal Yle issue. The public must also be confident that political decision-makers can’t influence Yle’s journalistic policy.”

Yle announced 23 February that it is commissioning an external review of the company’s journalistic decision-making.

Professor Olli Mäenpää, who headed the independent media watchdog the Council for Mass Media from 1999-2003, will conduct the evaluation. Mäenpää’s findings will be publicized in May.

Events at Yle have been the subject of widespread public debate since last autumn. A number of the company’s journalists have claimed that management have prevented stories from being publicized, allegedly due to outside political interference.  Some journalists have resigned from Yle in protest at the management policies.

In a related development, the Council for Mass Media has exonerated Yle from any contravention of journalistic principles in its reporting of a news story concerning the prime minister’s links to the sub-contractor of a state-owned mining company.

It was the prime minister’s opposition to the reportage on the issue that led to disagreements on Yle’s journalistic decision making, which has now prompted the external review.