Finland, “the land of the free press”, made headlines in January this year, when two journalists were convicted of disclosing state secrets in the infamous Finnish Intelligence Research Center case.

In December 2017, Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s leading daily newspaper, published an article about the activities of the Finnish Intelligence Research Center. The piece was the first in a series of articles aiming to shed light on plans to give Finland’s security services greater powers to carry out surveillance and covert operations domestically and abroad.

Soon after the publication, authorities opened an investigation into the newspaper and the authors of the article. Five years later, following a lengthy investigation and trial, the Helsinki District Court convicted journalist Laura Halminen and her colleague Tuomo Pietiläinen of disclosing state secrets.

On this podcast episode, we will have a closer look at the chain of events which lead to the landmark conviction, and how the long and unprecedented legal proceedings have affected press freedom in Finland and abroad.

Guests: Salla Nazarenko, International Affairs Specialist at the Union of Journalists in Finland and Riku Neuvonen, Associate Professor of Media Law, Researcher and Senior Lecturer of Public Law at Tampere University and University of Helsinki.

Producer and Host: Ronja Koskinen, Press Freedom Officer at IPI.

Editor: Ronja Koskinen, Press Freedom Officer at IPI and Javier Luque, Head of Digital Communications at IPI.

Other episodes in this series:

MFRR In Focus: Media in Slovakia brace for populist PM’s return

MFRR in Focus: Reforming Croatia’s controversial draft media law

MFRR in Focus: Press freedom in Romania’s super electoral year

MFRR in Focus: Opposition wins Poland election

MFRR In Focus: How will the takeover of Polska Press in Poland impact the upcoming election?

MFRR in Focus: Ariane Lavrilleux and the case of source protection in France

Related links:

Finland charges three journalists with disclosing ‘state secrets’

Finland: Conviction of two Helsingin Sanomat journalists sets dangerous precedent

This podcast series is part of the MFRR in Focus project sponsored by Media Freedom Rapid Response, which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries. The MFRR is organised by a consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) including ARTICLE 19 Europe, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), International Press Institute (IPI) and CCI/Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT).

For more in-depth podcast episodes about the state of press freedom in Europe, visit the MFRR website or search MFRR In Focus on your podcasts apps. The MFRR is co-funded by the European Commission.