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Finland’s largest media group Sanoma has filed a complaint with the EU Commission regarding the services provided by national public broadcasting company Yle. The former made the details of the complaint public on Monday evening. 

Sanoma’s main point of contention is Yle’s educational content and online streaming services, which, it argues, exceed the scope of public broadcasting and make it difficult for rival firms to compete. 

Digital learning and video content are key business segments for Sanoma, which controls numerous media services in Finland, including Helsingin Sanomat and multiple radio stations. According to the complaint, The expansion of Yle’s digital offerings has hampered Sanoma’s ability to market its own products. 

The media group has stated that it does not seek to shut down Yle Areena—Yle’s online streaming platform—but urges the government to set clear boundaries in the Act on Yleisradio Oy, which defines and limits the national broadcasting company’s operations. 

In the complaint, Sanoma contends that Yle Areena offers a wide range of entertainment services and states that several of these—in particular reality TV shows—do not need to be financed by public funds. 

The document questions the relevance of such content and whether it is in line with Yle’s stated goals of meeting the democratic, social and cultural needs of society. The free streaming service currently includes 20 British drama series and 15 international crime series.

Susan Duinhoven, President and CEO of Sanoma, told STT that Yle’s total budget is one and a half times that of private broadcasters and that it is essential to gain clarity on how it is spent. 

Representatives from Yle have stated that the restrictions would have a detrimental effect on its public services in the long term, potentially jeopardising its future.  

 

Tahira Sequeira

Helsinki Times

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