Several political youth and student organizations have joined forces in an effort to stop major companies inadvertently funding the anti-immigrant websites, MV-Lehti and Uber Uutset. The websites have published incendiary, often erroneous and abusive articles over the last year, gaining a large following and contributing to a harsher atmosphere in Finnish public life.
The campaign against the sites was initiated by the Social Democratic Students, SONK, and then joined by the other organisations who signed up to a joint statement. They aim to shame major companies into taking action.
Many of these firms buy adverts in bulk from Google, via the Google adWords service, without knowing exactly where the adverts will end up. They can however request that their ads are not displayed on certain categories of website or even specific individual websites—and that’s what the Finnish youth organizations are now asking them to do.
The nine organizations represent youth and student wings of the National Coalition, the Social Democrats, the Left Alliance, the Centre Party, the Swedish People’s Party and the Green Party.
"These publications agitate hatred towards minorities, refugees and other under-priviledge people in our society," read the statement.
"They serve both to justify growing hate speech in the society and to further finance their distorted news. Even though spreading fake news is not strictly against the law, the corporations financing these websites should take a stand unless they will be seen to support their hate-seething message."
In the days since SONK launched the campaign, chair Hanna Huumonen told Keskisuomalainen newspaper that she has received death threats.
"I get calls from private numbers about every 15 minutes," said Huumonen. "I’ve received text messages where people call me a ‘suvakkihuorapelle’ (roughly translates as ‘bleeding heart clown-whore’). I get emails where people tell me they hope I die. The majority of these messages have a very racist tone."
The chair of the Finns Party's youth wing, Sebastian Tynkkynen, told Yle that he 'hated' MV Lehti, but his organisation would not join the boycott so as to avoid bringing more attention to the website.