Finland / 04-08-2013

Antisemitic Finnish paper promises to tone down line


A freely-distributed Finnish paper notorious for its antisemitic content, said it would tone down its editorial line, following pressure from the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center.


"The contents are to become more commercial and radical articles should be avoided," Juha Kaarkkaainen, editor-in-chief of the Magneettimedia paper, told the Helsingin Sanomat in remarks published Friday.


Magneettimedia is primarily distributed via a chain of department stores set up by Kaarkkaainen and is also available on the Internet.


The paper was indicted in May by the prosecutor general for inciting racial hatred in three separate articles, and it caused widespread consternation this summer when publishing the translation of an article entitled "The Great 'Raping Rabbis' Cover-up."


The US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, which hunts old Nazi criminals and aims to maintain awareness of the Holocaust, this week sent a letter to Finnish President Sauli Niinistoo, urging him to "vigorously condemn" Magneettimedia.


The paper carries "a mix of Holocaust denial and an increasingly poisonous anti-Semitism," the letter said, adding Kaarkkaainen's activities amounted to "fomenting a grassroots mass outreach campaign that may endanger your small Jewish community and Jewish visitors to Finland."


Finland's Jewish community has about 1,300 members.


J. Kaarkkaainen Oy, the chain store carrying the paper, denied any influence on its editorial choices, but said it had requested an end to contents stigmatising any group of people.


"I apologise for any harm that these items have caused," said the chain's CEO, Riku Ilvesluoto, in a statement on the news website Kaleva.


Ilvesluoto could not be reached Friday, and Kaarkaainen declined to comment further when contacted by AFP.