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Friday's papers: Refugee integration, Yle reprimand, Sote controversy

Friday's press includes stories on refugees' economic integration, a media watchdog's criticism of Yle, and controversial appointments to a company linked to healthcare reform.

Newspapers, lehdet, sanomalehti
Image: Yle

Helsingin Sanomat leads with a report from the VATT Institute for Economic Research on the economic effects of the refugee crisis. In 2015 Finland received some 32,000 refugees, and the public discussion has since turned to the economic impact those new arrivals might have.

The debate has polarised somewhat, according to the HS commentary. Those positive towards immigration tend to emphasise the economic benefits of the new wave to an ageing society, while anti-immigration voices say that those benefits will be non-existent if the refugees don't get jobs.

The report is based on the economic impact of previous arrivals from the same countries as provided the bulk of the recent influx: Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. The picture is not that rosy. Perhaps not surprisingly, people arriving from war-torn countries that provide a lot of refugees do much worse economically than those from more stable places like Turkey, or OECD countries.

Even so, the claim that Finland cannot handle the economic burden is dismissed by HS. The key question, according to analysis by Paavo Teittinen, is how much Finland is willing to spend to save people from death or torture.

Yle in the news again

Yle was reprimanded on Thursday by the Council for the Mass Media in Finland (JSN) over its treatment of a story about a firm owned by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä's relatives receiving an order worth half a million euros from a state-owned firm shortly after Sipilä had granted extra state funds to that state-owned firm.

The JSN, which is Finland's body for self-regulation of the media, said that Yle had buckled under pressure from Sipilä, editing the original story and spiking follow-ups. Other Finnish media cover the case extensively on Friday, naturally enough, with Helsingin Sanomat describing the JSN decision as 'wise'.

Atte Jääskeläinen, Yle's editor-in-chief, said after the judgement that he would not resign, and he has the full support of the company's CEO Lauri Kivinen.

An editorial in HS says that it's good that the JSN took a stand on how the Prime Minister should deal with the media, and that the upcoming independent report into Yle's journalism is very necessary to establish how confidence in Yle has been damaged.

'Jobs for the boys' in Sote firm?

Aamulehti covers appointments at Maakuntien tilakeskus Oy, a state-owned firm established to take control of health and social care facilities currently owned by municipalities. It's part of a planned reform of health and social care, or 'sote', that is currently winding its way through parliament.

It'll play a key role in the reform as services pass from local councils to newly-created elected regional governments. AL reports, however, that several senior positions at the company have been filled without an open application process. Mikko Hollmén will take up a post as the company's head of customer services, the head of construction will be Petri Laurikka, and the head of maintenance is Hannu Lähteenmäki.

Their monthly salaries are all between 9,000 and 10,000 euros a month, and all three received a salary bump of between 10 and 15 percent compared to their previous posts.

The recruitment process has caused consternation among members of the project working group charged with establishing the firm. Members of the working group heard about the appointments for the first time on Wednesday at a scheduled meeting, with one telling AL that the hires were exceptional and secretive, as a temporary CEO (Olavi Hiekka) had made the decision on permanent appointments.

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