Diffcult to influence Finnish public opinion from outside: minister

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-17 03:01:41|Editor: yan
Video PlayerClose

HELSINKI, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Finland's Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkanen on Thursday underlined Finnish resilience against outside attempts to influence public opinion.

Mykkanen commented on Thursday reports about a partially declassified U.S. diplomatic cable that said Finland had faced "media attacks, allegedly led by Russia, to raise suspicion about joining NATO."

Parts of the diplomatic cable had been obtained by the U.S. site Buzzfeed via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

Interviewed on national radio Yle, Mykkanen appeared to calm down concerns and said the "U.S. conclusions are appraisals based on some clues."

"But no one can have an objective and accurate picture of the extent and motivations," Mykkanen said, noting that Finland is exceptionally resilient against information attacks.

"Ability to read the media critically is high in Finland. People will notice such attempts quickly," he said.

Mykkanen also underlined the responsibility of the media to warn about fake news and to avoid instigating panic "that often results from trolling".

The U.S. cable quoted by Buzzfeed had said that besides trying to affect the debate on joining NATO, the media attack had also attempted to create mistrust between the people and decision makers. Similar efforts had been targeting Sweden as well, the cable had said.

Support of joining NATO has declined slightly in Finland in recent years. A poll commissioned by two newspapers in spring gave the backing as 17 percent. The figure was five percentage points less than the level found in a poll by an official defence information body last September.