Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) has stated that he had no intention to restrict the freedom of the press in sending a series of e-mails to YLE, after the public broadcaster had reported about a possible conflict of interest arising from a contract awarded by Terrafame, a state-owned nickel miner, to Katera Steel, a provider of industrial equipment owned by his relatives.
“I had no intention to restrict the operations of YLE. I haven't silenced anyone,” he stressed in a press conference on Wednesday.
Sipilä sent more than a dozen e-mails to a journalist and the acting editor-in-chief at YLE on Friday, stating, for example, that he has entirely lost his confidence in the public broadcasting company. YLE's senior editorial staff then decided not to publish a follow-up story about the 500,000-euro contract, according to Suomen Kuvalehti.
“I've expressed my regrets about the comments to Atte Jääskeläinen, [the acting editor-in-chief at YLE],” he said, underlining that he simply felt that he had not been given a fair opportunity to comment on the allegations. He revealed that he had been asked to comment on the report by e-mail one-and-a-half hours before its publication.
Terrafame awarded the contract to Katera Steel only two weeks after it was granted a 100 million-euro injection of capital by the Ministerial Committee on Economic Policy, which is chaired by the Prime Minister.
Sipilä stated in an interview with Kansan Uutiset, the official mouthpiece of the Left Alliance, that he has had no knowledge of the clients or operations of Katera Steel since he relinquished his stake in Fortel Invest, an investment firm owned by his children that is a minority shareholder in Katera Steel, three years ago.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi