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"Broken Mirrors" tackles Russian and Finnish media illusions

A two-day Finnish-Russian media conference opened at the House of Parliament in Helsinki on Monday, the first event bringing together Russian and Finnish journalists since the 1990s.

House of Parliament
The seminar runs until Tuesday evening at the Finnish Parliament's auditorium. Image: Yle

More than 50 journalists from the two countries are discussing Russia's and Finland's images in each others' media. Speakers on Monday included Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja and Speaker of Parliament Eero Heinäluoma.

Tuesday's speakers include two professors from the University of Helsinki as well as a Finnish Foreign Ministry official discussing the possibility of visa-free trips between Russia and the EU.

Dubbed "Broken Mirrors", the conference is being co-hosted by an array of NGOs, journalists' groups as well as the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS, the Finnish online newspaper Uusi Suomi and Yle. Financial backers include the EU and the US National Endowment for Democracy.

The meeting follows months of negative-toned reports in the two countries’ media sparked by the issue of child custody disputes. In mid-November, Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen criticised Russian reporting on such cases in Finland.

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