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Police open investigation of Alma Media discrimination allegation

A journalist claims she was not hired as editor-in-chief at Tampere daily Aamulehti because the publisher's CEO felt her motherhood was an obstacle.

Kai Telanne ja Päivi Anttikoski.
Alma Media CEO Kai Telanne and Päivi Anttikoski Image: Lehtikuva

The Central Finland Police Department has commenced a pre-trial investigation of a reported case of gender discrimination in the southern city of Tampere.

Senior inspector Jari Kinnunen says the police opened the investigation as a possible incidence of workplace discrimination at their own initiative, and was in contact with the woman in the case, the former editor of Helsingin Sanomat Päivi Anttikoski, on Tuesday.

Currently serving as the Prime Minister's Office communications director, Anttikoski went public with her story in the weekly publication Suomen Kuvalehti last Friday. The public broadcaster Yle picked up the story on Saturday, adding interviews with several key players and a consulting legal expert.

In the SK article, Anttikoski claims that her chances in late 2017 for securing a position as chief editor for the Aamulehti newspaper were cut short after she told Kai Telanne, CEO of the Alma Media company that owns the paper, of her family situation.

"I told him that my family – my husband and one child – would continue living in Helsinki for a period. At the end of the interview, he asked me the age of my child," she said.

She said she then answered that her child was ten years old.

"Telanne told me that a ten year old is too young to manage without a mother. I was penalized for my motherhood," she told SK.

No comment from either party

Yle asked Anttikoski to comment on the news that the police have started an investigation into the case, but she replied that she was not allowed to comment on the case for the duration of the pre-trial investigation period.

The public broadcaster was unable to reach Kai Telanne for comment. He had told Suomen Kuvalehti earlier that he was "sorry if the applicant got the wrong impression".

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