Donald Trump

A Finnish Newspaper Tries to Remind Trump and Putin About Freedom of the Press

The paper has put up hundreds of billboards highlighting both leaders' "turbulent relations with the media."

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Nikolsky Alexei/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Finland's largest newspaper has put up almost 300 billboards criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin's treatment of the press.

Helsingin Sanomat's billboards feature headlines from past stories that "highlight the presidents' turbulent relations with the media," according to a press release. The posters, which are in Russian and English, went up ahead of today's meeting between Trump and Putin in Helsinki. They were meant to be seen by both world leaders as they traveled from the airport to the meeting.

"Mr. President, welcome to the land of free press," one of the billboards reads, while another says, "Trump calls media enemy of the people." Other billboards criticized Putin, with one reading, "Russian reporter who criticized Putin gains asylum in Britain."

Kaius Niemi, editor-in-chief of Helsingin Sanomat, has said the newspaper wants to remind Trump and Putin about "the importance of free press" and show support for American and Russian journalists facing "ever toughening circumstances" in their respective countries. "The media shouldn't be the lapdog of any president or regime," he added.

That sentiment was evident in many of the billboards:

As the newspaper notes in its press release, both Trump and Putin have had "contentious" relationships with the media. In Russia's case, contentious is an understatement. "Between draconian laws and website blocking, the pressure on independent media has grown steadily since Vladimir Putin's return to the Kremlin in 2012," the group says. Russia was ranked 148th out of 180 countries in the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders' 2018 World Press Freedom Index.

Even the U.S., which guarantees freedom of press under the First Amendment, was only ranked 45th in the index, down two spots from last year. Reporters Without Borders notes Trump's "attempt[s] to block White House access to multiple media outlets" and his "call[s] for revoking certain media outlets' broadcasting licenses."

Finland, where Trump and Putin met today, is ranked fourth on the index.

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NEXT: Trump's Presser with Putin Was Disgraceful. But No, It's Not 'Treason' to Meet with Russia.

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  1. What’s the toughening situation for US Journalists? Has there been some legal crackdown lately?

    1. Trump hurt their feelings which is a violation of the First Amendment.

    2. The media’s 1st Amendment right to not be criticized is being violated every day just for exercising their 1st Amendment right to libel.

    3. The press likes writing stories about the press.
      It’s tribalism all the way down

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    5. Newspapers are shuttering all over the world, because of Trump.

      1. If anything, Trump has tossed them a lifeline.

        1. Sure got the blood flowing after 8 years of nodding at white house press conferences.

          1. “Nodding”

            Is that we’re now calling Lefty media sucking Obama’s dick for 8 years?

    6. The DoJ investigating reporters to determine who their sources were? Oh wait…

      1. Although to be fair, it wouldn’t surprise me if that kind of shit was still going on. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

      2. To be fair, some of the ‘sources’ are actual spies who are trying to undermine the USA.

        The 1st Amendment does not protect media conspiring with foreign spies to undermine US elections.

    7. They’re being asked to do their jobs and not just pass on made up BS as gospel.

      Until they start doing that I’m going to keep discounting their every utterance as the DNC propaganda it is.

  2. “…But if the Press voluntarily accepts the lapdog role, that’s totes ok.”

  3. News flash for you son: nobody gives a fuck what the media in Finland think about anything except you media Obamatards.

    Finland is one the least relevant countries in the world, and being in the Finland media is like being the lowest substep of relevance on the bottom step of relevance.

  4. Totally O/T:

    Democratic communist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez puts her grasp of economics on full display during an interview on Firing Line:

    “Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs,” Ocasio-Cortez explained

    Story Here

    1. That reaches a new level of confusing prog logic.

    2. There is something shitty about how some companies cap the hours worked to be below the threshold where they have to provide health insurance. Thanks, Obama

      1. And then they turn around and use those savings to buy all the healthcare for themselves!!! Worldwide communism now!

      2. Why would companies want to pay more taxes for employee Medicare, more money for health plans, and higher medical costs because of ObamaCare?

        Everyone predicted employers would cut hours below the threshold and hire more people to work part time.

    3. Interesting. One job is for work and and job is for fun. Communists wont be able to tax the fun job, since its for fun.

  5. “”””Donald Trump is a clown who makes other republican candidates appear nearly sane. His chances of winning are of course 0.0″”””””

    So putting up a fake news poster equals “press freedom” since history shows that Trump had a better then 0.0 chance of wining.

    1. Kaius Niemi: an irrelevant twerp running an irrelevant media entity in an irrelevant country, no matter how much he parrots what he reads in the New York Times.

      1. I keep reading that as Klaus Nomi.

        1. Or Klaus Barbie

    2. It equals freedom. No modifier needed, really.

    3. Meh, if they want to display their ignorance to the entire world, they should be free to do so.

  6. I can’r actually recall Trump calling for any government censorship. I do recall that he has whined about “unfair treatment” (after something like forty years of fawning media coverage – beginning with the then big three networks showering him with paise about being a “new kind of real estate developer” and raving about hos support for Liberal Democratic causes) but I wrote that off as being akin to Obama’s complaints about Fox News.

    Who knew we’d elect two whiny little bitch presidents in a row?

    Even so, I don’t actually recall anyone calling for the kind of press censorship that is common everywhere else in the world.

    1. I guess you missed the part where he wants to “roll back the libel laws”?

      1. Wake me when he actually proposes a law on that.

        1. You know, like the McCain-Feingold Act.

        2. Beyond an executive order, he can’t pass a law on that. #bluewave has to do that.

          1. That is why I wrote “proposed”.

      2. Why, yes, I did. Would you care to give me a citation for that?

        I believe that Trump is an impulsive, uncultured buffoon. But I confine my objections to him to those which are actually verified.

        1. I might add that while I am unhappy that Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America, I am even happier (Yea, to the extent of unmitigated joy) that Hillary Clinton is not.

          1. +1

          2. I am kind of happy Trump is president as he has done Libertarian-ish thing.

            I am very happy that Hillary lost.

          3. I was pretty disgusted that Trump won the election. The only thing that cheered me up enough to get through another day was reminding myself that Clinton lost.

            And while defending Trump isn’t high on my list of favorite things to do, I think it’s pretty ridiculous to put him in the same category as Putin when it comes to press freedom. Bitching about the media is a long, long way from the suppression that’s routine in Russia. And every time I hear some proggy moron describing Fox News as “state media”, I really want to punch them in the face. (As a firm believer in the NAP, I don’t actually punch them, but I really want to.)

      3. he wants to “roll back the libel laws”?

        And people in hell want ice water.

        Congress still passes legislation, last time I checked. When some congresscritter introduces a bill to do that, then I’ll worry about it, but until then he can bitch and whine about it all he wants.

        1. Plus, defamation laws tend to be state laws.

  7. Even the U.S., which guarantees freedom of press under the First Amendment, was only ranked 45th in the index, down two spots from last year.

    I know, it’s like you hardly read anything critical of this administration, right?

    1. That journalists can get away with as much of their awful reporting as they can without retribution from the government proves them wrong on the threat to freedom of the press.

    2. I’m not exactly sure what kind of “index” on free speech would rank the USA #45 when I am not aware of any country in the world where you can get away with saying and printing the kind of things you can here.

      Purely anecdotal, but most people I know from foreign countries say something like, “I believe in free speech, but…”

      1. The USA is lower than expected because the people that do the rankings, rank low for not allowing free speech and not regulating it enough to filter out ‘hate speech’.

  8. Trump bitches about journalist’s practices, sometimes bizarrely, but oftentimes with a good point, and that compares to a regime that has actually suppressed the press? Really?

    What about when the press are willingly lapdogs for an administration, as they were between 2008 and 2016? Does the press bear any responsibility to not beclown themselves?

    1. Trump bitches about journalist’s practices, sometimes bizarrely, but oftentimes with a good point, and that compares to a regime that has actually suppressed the press?

      To the progressice left, verbal “attacks” = physical violence, so of course whining about “fake news” (defined as any less than fawning news story about him) is the same as imprisoning and murdering journalists.

    2. Trump is mostly right about how Lefty and hypocritical the media is.

      Remember, he hob-nobed with those people for decades. He knows exactly what they are like.

  9. US press freedom, enshrined in the First Amendment to the 1787 constitution, has been under increasing attack over the past few years, and the first year of President Donald J. Trump’s presidency has fostered further decline in journalists’ right to report. He has declared the press an “enemy of the American people” in a series of verbal attacks toward journalists, attempted to block White House access to multiple media outlets, and routinely uses the term “fake news” in retaliation for critical reporting. He has even called for revoking certain media outlets’ broadcasting licenses.

    So… is it possible that this ranking is based on the fact that there is in fact a hostile relationship between the White House and the press, even though that hostile relationship may not have any affect on the tens of thousands of media outlets across the country and how they report both news on the white house and news on every conceivable front?

    I think it would be far more useful to rank press freedom based on more concrete variables than “The guy in the white house says shit we don’t like”.

    For instance, did they rank press freedom downward when, after pressure from domestic lawmakers and the EU, the social media companies began complying with massive censorship efforts based on actual legislation?

    1. I mean, a sunny relationship between the major media outlets and the White House doesn’t equate to “more press freedom”. In fact, I’d say it equates to a potentially nasty situation where the media is perfectly free to be a mouthpiece for an administration.

  10. “”Reporters Without Borders notes Trump’s “attempt[s] to block White House access to multiple media outlets”””

    Because Freedom of the Press is all about access to power. Yeah, right. I’ve got my own beefs about the structure of news dissemination from the halls of power, but bitching about membership in an exclusive club is NOT violating anyone’s free speech. Finnish style centralization of news dissemination is the antithesis of a free press.

    “”…his “call[s] for revoking certain media outlets’ broadcasting licenses.”””

    Now that’s a serious problem and the fact that there aren’t impeachment calls over this distresses me.

    1. Agreed. What would you rate a more actionable threat: Donald Trump’s call to revoke media licenses or Dianne Feinsteins threat to regulate all online content?

      1. I think both should be fed into a non-partisan woodchipper.

      2. Congress even discussing any legislation that attacks the 1st Amendment should be quickly smacked down.

    2. It’s worth remembering, though, that when Trump called for revoking broadcasting licenses, the FCC Chairman that Trump himself appointed said, “Umm, no, we don’t do that sort of thing.”

      It’s also worth remembering that Finland is part of the EU and, as such, adheres to the “right to be forgotten” and compels search engines to delete truthful news stories about people when they are deemed “too old to matter.” Does that sound like press freedom?

  11. Even the U.S., which guarantees freedom of press under the First Amendment, was only ranked 45th in the index, down two spots from last year.

    I’m going to wager that these rankings are horseshit.

    1. The USA is lower than expected because the people that do the rankings, rank low for not allowing free speech and not regulating it enough to filter out ‘hate speech’.

      Its like ranking for Presidents and they list FDR, Bill Clinton, and Obama as ranked in the top 20. Bill Clinton was one of two presidents to be impeached and FDR put American in internment camps without trial. Obama signed ObamaCare which for the first time in USA forced Americans to buy a product.

    2. I’m going to wager that these rankings are horseshit.

      Well of course they are.

      When they count ‘journalists killed’ they note 6 journalists died doing journalist work in 2018

      4 from that newspaper that got shot up by a lunatic…you can kinda sort of count this as an assault on ‘the press’ even though his motives seemed to be more personal.

      2 that got killed when a very large tree fell on their truck while they were out working a story. Presumably assault by nature counts against press freedom in the US.

  12. I suppose they put up similar billboards for Obama, Bush, Clinton, …

    Why were we not informed of these other occasions of other billboards for other Presidents? Was the press trying to hide something?

  13. How many Neo libertarians does it take to bash Russia while refusing to examine evidence ? Yes, Mollie Hemingway, an attorney spokeswoman for a constitutional organization, stated that Muellers Friday indictment “proved” Russian state interfered in 2016 election.
    No Mollie, the indictment only listed allegations, and like most provided no proof. The proof will never reach a court of law.

  14. Finland doesn’t have a free press–it has a leftist press. That is what Reporters without Borders measures.

    1. Oh my God. Reporters without Borders looks pretty Lefty. I have never heard of that organization before.

      Its HQ is in Paris and it measures how much assistance governments give the Press. Of course the USA will be ranked low as US media is fairly free market and does not get subsidies from the taxpayer.

  15. I fights to the Finnish
    ‘Cause I eats me…wait…

    (checks “Finnish cuisine” on Wikipedia)

    …I fights more than the rest of ya
    ‘Cause I eats me maitorieska
    I’m Vainamoinen the Finnish man

    1. Well, there was a player on the Croatian World Cup team named Strini?. You can eat him even though he has nothing to do with Funland.

  16. Reporters Without Borders notes Trump’s “attempt[s] to block White House access to multiple media outlets” and his “call[s] for revoking certain media outlets’ broadcasting licenses.”

    I’ll give RWB the latter (and even calling for it with no hint or hope of doing so is still Not What Presidents Ought To Do).

    But … a “free press” does not need “access to White House press conferences” to work.

    I’d frankly trust the press more if they didn’t clamor over getting “access” like that, and so transparently play favorites with it depending on the party affiliation of the President.

    There’s no goddamn First Amendment right or free-speech-principle about “letting us be at your presser so you can ignore our shitty questions”.

    The Press can do its job perfectly well without any of that.

  17. Yes the people are losing their minds. Russia was not our best friend before election but they were not our enemy until the left lost. We are better off with them as luke warm friends than enemies.

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