September 2000

NATO treated uncritically in Kosovo articles

The Finnish press was surprisingly uncritical of NATO’s air strikes during the Kosovo conflict. According to researcher Tiina Seppälä, a previous view that the Finnish press was more critical towards NATO’s actions than the American press seems erroneous.

According to a report in the national daily, Helsingin Sanomat (7 September 2000), Seppälä found that of this newspaper’s editorials 76,5 per cent took a positive view of NATO’s military action. Seppälä was surprised that there was more criticism of the air strikes and military action in Kosovo in the columns of Washington Post.

“The Finnish press didn’t dare to criticise NATO’s actions and air strikes as strongly as the press in the United States. Washington Post published articles which were really critical and negative about NATO”, Seppälä says.

In a study for the University of Lapland, Seppälä compared Kosovo articles in Helsingin Sanomat, Washington Post and Lapin Kansa, published in the capital of Lapland, Rovaniemi.

According to Seppälä, one reason for critical American writing was the fact that the war in Kosovo was also a domestic issue in the United States. However, she couldn’t find a clear reason for the positive attitude in Finland towards NATO. Finnish press was much more critical during the Gulf War in 1991. Then the claims about a “clean war” were treated sceptically. Seppälä says that NATO and the media seem to have learned from this criticism. The war in Kosovo was consequently waged in a more moderate manner, she says.

See also:

Finland suffers from alliance phobia

1 August 2000

Kosovo media debate one year after

27 April 2000

Ahtisaari warns against doctrine of humanitarian intervention

24 March 2000

Aftermath of Kosovo: Europe takes military route to security

October 1999

When journalists become carriers of war by Eeva Lennon

October 1999

Ex-president criticises West's policies in Yugoslavia

31 August 1999

Non-aligned countries watch warily as NATO sidelines UN

May 1999

Finland agonises over Kosovo

May 1999

Intellectuals divided by events in Yugoslavia

27 April 1999


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