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Thursday's papers: More trust for Wikipedia than Parliament, election meddling, Finnair emissions

Papers in Finland discuss an annual survey of public trust levels, authorities brace for possible election tampering, and Finnair's carbon pollution growth.

Finnairin matkustajakone Helsinki-Vantaan lentokentällä 16. heinäkuuta 2018.
Image: Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva

"Finns trust Wikipedia more than Parliament" reads the headline in the rural affairs newspaper Maaseuden Tulevaisuus this Thursday, as MT carries a story on the latest EVA assessment of public trust in the country's various institutions.

According to the pro-business think-tank's annual poll, Finnish residents put the most trust in the police force (86 percent), with President Sauli Niinistö and the Defence Forces tied for second place (slightly over 80 percent each).

Compared to the survey results from a decade ago, the public puts more faith in the president and the European Union than they used to, and have less even faith in the trustworthiness of politicians and the media. Only one in five in this latest poll trusted Finland's political parties, for example.

Other institutions that have gained trust over the years include the court systems, small businesses and NGOs. The public broadcaster Yle, daily Helsingin Sanomat and commercial broadcaster MTV have all lost ground or maintained their previous levels of trust.

The survey contains the response of 2,000 people, yielding results with a 2-3 percentage point margin of error. EVA has carried out an annual assessment of the values and attitudes of the public since 1984.

Authorities prepare for election meddling

The country's most widely-read daily Helsingin Sanomat reports on Finland's preparations for expected election interference.

The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) considers it likely that foreign states will try to influence the Finnish parliamentary elections on 14 April in some way.

"We are preparing for a possible cyber attack on election day. Last year in Sweden, the election authorities' website that was tracking results was targeted by an attack," says Jussi Toivanen, chief communications specialist at the Prime Minister's Office.

Toivonen tells HS that the only pre-election harassment that has been flagged so far has been domestic in origin, including threatening behaviour online and at campaign stops.

"A new development is that people come out to events to deliberately provoke candidates face-to-face and stream the interaction online. This is really bad for democracy, [particularly] if candidates begin having second thoughts about running because of this kind of pestering."

The Finnish neo-Nazi organisation Nordic Resistance Movement has also been spreading false information online in the name of various political parties, but Toivonen tells HS their activity is "very marginal". Last week the country's Supreme Court placed a temporary ban on the group's activities.

A five-hour-long denial of service attack downed the website of the new political group Movement Now for 20 minutes on Monday, the paper reports. The group's IT specialist says it was a 'brute force' attack, where cyber attackers attempt to penetrate the same server by cracking passwords and exploiting security loopholes. The attack was traced to the IP address of a Russian operator.

As a whole, however, electoral entities have not yet been subject to significant cyber attacks, Jarna Hartikainen, head of situational awareness at Finland's National Cyber Security Centre tells the paper.

Third-largest emissions growth in Europe

And an article from the financial weekly Talouselämä (TE) looks at a recent ranking of airlines in terms of their carbon emissions and finds that national carrier Finnair had the third-highest growth in emissions in Europe last year, with air traffic emitting 11 percent more carbon pollution in 2018 than in 2017.

Finnair's global CO2 emissions weighed in at 3.2 million tonnes last year, surpassed by only one factory in Finland, the SSAB steel mill in the northwestern coastal city of Raahe, which emitted 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018.

Finnair's media relations director Päivyt Tallqvist doesn't deny the uptick, saying it is attributable to Finnair's strong growth. She tells the periodical that the airline is nevertheless constantly seeking to cut emissions with new technology and optimized routes, altitudes and speeds.

TE reports that the Technology & Environment research group which released the figures says "aviation's runaway emissions" can be attributed to lax government regulation compared to other transport.

"National carriers and low-cost airlines all benefit from paying no fuel tax and VAT while the rest of us must pay our way. Governments and the EU need to wake up, starting with a tax on kerosene and clean fuel mandates that force airlines to switch to zero-emission jet fuel," Andrew Murphy, T&E's aviation manager is quoted as saying.

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