Finnish PM: Media to be investigated over conduct at Jokela shooting

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.

Prime Minister of Finland Matti Vanhanen told reporters at a Wednesday press conference that a board of inquiry formed to investigate the Jokela school shooting will now also look into how the media conducted itself reporting the incident. The move is understood to be a response to a petition initiated by young local residents.

Over 2,000 people have signed the petition both in the area and on the internet. The petition alleges that survivors and victims relatives were 'harassed' by reporters in the aftermath of the shooting, which saw nine people shot dead at Jokela High School, including the gunman. The youths demand a public apology.

"Tuija Brax, the justice minister, will set up a board of inquiry to investigate the Jokela tragedy and the role of the media will be included in this inquiry," Vanhanen told reporters. He went on to express that he valued the document and felt it warranted summoning several other ministers. However, he stressed the view that his government should not attempt to control the press.

Representatives of the media had earlier responded to the allegations by saying that although they deny the allegations, they are not surprised by them. However, both the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, and the Ombudsman for Children in Finland, Maria Kaisa Aula, have expressed their support for the Jokela youth, although Aula has commented that she believes most of the reporters did act 'ethically'.