An Yle journalist and a camera operator were asked by officials to leave a Tornio facility for unregistered asylum seekers on Sunday, despite being allowed inside a day earlier. Officials said that the rules regarding media access to reception centres and similar facilities have not changed, saying they want to protect the privacy of the clients and the people working there.
A Finnish Border Guard representative said they were instructed by police to keep journalists from entering a temporary facility for unregistered asylum seekers at the Putaan sports hall in Tornio on Sunday, even though journalists were allowed into the centre the day before.
Officials say that members of the media are not allowed into at such facilities in order to protect the privacy of both clients and staff.
Police communications chief Markku Paksuniemi says that media access is denied at all indoor asylum seeker facilities.
“When the [asylum seekers] are not registered, we do not allow them to be exposed to publicity, whether they want to be or not,” Paksuniemi said, adding that the rule has been in place since the centres were established.
The head of the Finnish Journalists Union Hanne Aho says that the media should be granted open access in general, unless there is a good reason not to.
“I understand [the motivation] to protect them,” Aho said.