Finnish broadcaster slammed for Sami TV news

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The Finnish Broadcasting Company has long been criticised for its poor broadcast time of Sami-language television news, Oddasat. But Yle says a change may soon be in store.

An online petition at adressit.com is calling for a better broadcast slot for the show in Finland. Backers point out that 60 percent of the country’s 9,000 Sami live outside their homelands in Finland’s far north.

Swedish and Norwegian viewers have been able to tune in to the pan-Nordic production on nationally available channels at 5.30pm local time. While Yle’s Swedish-language channel Yle Fem transmits the programme at 7.10pm in northern Finland, residents in the rest of the country have to wait until midnight to watch the show.

A similar petition drew 3,400 signatures five years ago, but it failed to impact Yle’s timing of Oddasat.

“I believe the problem comes down to will on the Finnish side,” said Oddasat producer Ravna Buljo Gaup from the show’s studio in Karasjokk, Norway.

Yle says subtitling issues are behind the broadcast delay. But Buljo Gaup slams this criticism, reminding Yle that its Swedish and Norwegian counterparts are able to broadcast the subtitled programme at 6.30pm Finnish time.

‘Inhumane’ broadcast time

Last December Parliamentary Deputy Ombudsman Maija Sakslin called Oddasat’s current Finnish broadcast time ‘inhumane’ in light of Yle’s public service mission. She dismissed Yle’s claim that airing Sami news in prime time would upset the general public.

“We’ve taken this issue seriously and are planning to broadcast Sami TV news in its own time slot nationwide. But we don’t know how to do it yet,” said Yle’s Director of Media, Ismo Silvo.

Sakslin has meanwhile given Yle until October to take the necessary steps to make national Sami-language TV news at a decent hour a reality.

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