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TV news in Sámi should be broadcast at better time

Deputy-Ombudsman Maija Sakslin has criticised the time that the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) transmits news in the Sámi language south of the former province of Lapland as inhuman. The news bulletin is transmitted, with Finnish subtitles, on the channel TV-1 after the other evening programmes, usually around midnight.

The late transmission time is problematic for both Sámi speakers and others outside the Sámi homeland area, Deputy-Ombudsman Sakslin believes. She compares the situation with Sweden and Norway, where the television companies broadcast news in Sámi nationwide at a fixed time in early evening.

-  As the only indigenous people in the EU, the Sámi have a special position among our minorities. The Sámi language and culture enjoy special protection in both our national Constitution and the international conventions to which Finland is committed, the Deputy-Ombudsman points out.

In her view, news in Sámi provide a service to both the Sámi and the majority population, because they mediate information about Sámi culture and the Sámi as an indigenous people. This increases and promotes tolerance in society.

Over 60 per cent of the around 9,000 Sámi in Finland live outside their homeland area. About a thousand of them live in the Helsinki metropolitan region alone.

People living in northern Finland can see the Sámi news bulletin (Oddasat) on the channel FST5 at 19.10 on weekdays. It is broadcast from a central editorial office in Karasjoki, Norway.

News programmes are a task for the Finnish Broadcasting Company

Deputy-Ombudsman Sakslin took the matter under investigation on her own initiative. In her view, broadcasting news in Sámi undeniably belongs to the Finnish Broadcasting Companys public service tasks, which are subject to the Ombudsman's oversight.

She has asked the Finnish Broadcasting Company to inform her, by 31.10.2013, of the measures it is taking.

Additional info will be provided by Senior Legal Adviser Eero Kallio, tel. +358(0) 9432 3342.