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Friday's papers: Resistance to disinformation, Helsinki election poll, slippin 'n sliding on the ice

Helsingin Sanomat looks at claims by the journal Foreign Policy that Finland is unusually resistant to Russian disinformation. An Iltalehti poll shows the Greens pulling ahead in Helsinki, and Turun Sanomat reports on the perennial danger of icy walkways.

Daily newspapers.
Image: E.D.Hawkins / Yle

On Wednesday the American journal Foreign Policy  published an extensive article about disinformation and fake news, Why Is Finland Able to Fend Off Putin’s Information War?

Helsingin Sanomat today looks at some of the main points in FP's claims that "...unlike its neighbors, Helsinki reckons it has the tools to effectively resist any information attack from its eastern neighbor."

Among those listed are country’s strong public education system, long history of balancing Russia, the low level of corruption, and a comprehensive government strategy allowing it to deflect coordinated propaganda and disinformation.

Interviewed by Helsingin Sanomat, an expert on information warfare, Saara Jantunen, added one more - the general character of the Finns.

"The Finns are practical people. They have their feet on the ground. In this kind of society it is more difficult to get people caught up in absurdities."

The paper continued, "Jantunen's observation works as an answer the question posed by Foreign Policy: Can its successes be translated to the rest of Europe? Others can adopt the model, and learning is possible, but there are many factors that protect Finland from the effects of disinformation that have developed over a long period of time."

Greens pulling ahead

The newsstand tabloid Iltalehti reports the results of its latest local election poll that shows what the paper calls "a big surprise" in Helsinki.

The voter survey, carried out at the end of last month, indicates that the conservative National Coalition Party (NCP) which has long dominated politics in the capital may have to turn over the top spot to the Greens.

Iltalehti says the Greens are now the most popular party in Helsinki, with backing from 27.7% of the voters interviewed for its poll. Support for the NCP was 25.3%.

Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party was found to have fallen well behind. At 14.9%, its support has declined by almost 10 percentage points from its peak just over a decade ago.

Slippin 'n sliding

Slips and falls on icy streets and walkways are a problem in the country each and every year.

Falling on the ice is one of the most common forms of accident, accounting for about a third of all accident insurance claims. According to Turun Sanomat, in the depths of winter 15,000 to 20,000 people a month take a serious fall.

Quoting figures from the Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities, the paper says falls annually cost hundreds of millions of euros in medical expenses and lost work time. The costs of falls are five times the expenditure by municipalities on street maintenance.

The settlements paid out to people injured in falls on public thoroughfares in Turku have ranged from a few hundred euros to tens of thousands.

Making a claim for damages against a municipality following a fall can be a long process. However, a claim can be filed for up to three years after an accident.

The paper writes that in Turku, the city has up to a year to react to the filing of a claim. Since any claim is turned over to the city's insurance company, it also takes time for the insurer to process it. In some cases, a decision and a settlement can be forthcoming within a few months. In other cases, the process can take years.

Airport problems?

The freesheet Metro was among the morning papers warning readers that a labour dispute may lead to a walkout by some employees at Helsinki airport beginning at 2 PM.

If talks between unions and the airport services company Airpro do not reach a settlement this morning, the walkout will affect security checks and check-in services for Norwegian airline flights.

Metro quotes the chairman of the Finnish Aviation Union as advising anyone planning to fly from Helsinki today to get to the airport well before departure time.

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