Tuomo Pietiläinenthe reporter who was primarily responsible for the story was fined 50 days. Laura Halminenanother reporter mentioned in the byline, was not convicted because of his lesser role.
“The other journalist had a clearly smaller role than his colleague and had sought to ensure that the publication was legal. The district court refrained from sentencing him for these reasons,” the decision reads, according to the public broadcasting company.
The verdict also justified the prolongation of the proceedings.
Kalle SilfverbergPietiläinen’s supervisor at the time of publication was acquitted after the court ruled that he was not guilty and did not incite the disclosure of national secrets. The prosecutor had demanded that all three journalists be sentenced to a suspended prison sentence of at least 18 months.
The court ordered the daily newspaper to remove and “destroy” the story on its website.
Helsingin Sanomat and its three editors were ordered to compensate the plaintiff for the legal costs of 17,500 euros incurred by the Finnish Defense Forces.
The reporters had denied all criminal charges, arguing that the story did not reveal actual national secrets and that they had not made the final decision to publish. Timo YlikantolaPietiläinen’s defense attorney stated on Friday that the defendants plan to complain about the verdict, which he says is problematic for journalists and investigative journalism.
“How can you do investigative journalism about the defense forces or other security agencies?” he asked.
Kai KotirantaThe director who represented Halmi, Silfverberg and Helsingin Sanom similarly assesses that the conviction of two journalists for “routine journalistic work” creates obvious tensions in exercising freedom of speech and the press.
Their concerns were shared by Suomen Tomittajat.
“Just starting this process is very unusual in a country like Finland. The decision was also surprising. Hanne AhoChairman of Journalists in Finland, stated for YLE. “This case can be considered a watershed. It is the duty of journalists to tell the public what is happening in this country. This right is hereby limited.”
The 2021 decision to prosecute journalists received criticism from, among others, the International Press Institute (IPI).
Aho found it particularly troubling from the point of view of journalistic work that the court effectively defined what could and could not be published.
“In Finland, it seems that slightly different rules apply in the defense forces and the national defense. It’s hard for editors to know what to write about. This can easily lead to self-censorship, he warned.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: The Nordic Page