News Now Finland journalism nominated for European award

Journalist Elias Huuhtanen is on the short list for three investigative stories about Finnish state-owned companies.

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File picture of Elias Huuhtanen / Credit: News Now Finland

Dutch media NGO Free Press Unlimited has nominated News Now Finland journalist Elias Huuhtanen for the 2019 Newcomer of the Year – Hans Verlploeg Award.

Huuhtanen, 24, is nominated for his work on three investigations into Finnish state-owned companies Patria and Neste.

Journalists from the Philippines and Ecuador are also shortlisted for the award.

“The whole team at News Now Finland is very proud of Elias’s nomination. It’s a wonderful validation for the work he’s done, and reinforces that there’s a place in the Finnish media landscape for original independent journalism, even in English” says News Now Finland’s Managing Editor David Mac Dougall, who co-wrote two of the nominated stories.

The initial investigation, published in September 2018, laid out for the first time compelling evidence that Finnish-made Patria vehicles, some fitted with Russian heavy weapons, were deployed to parts of Yemen where the United Nations says massacres have taken place.

Using open-source data, Huuhtanen mapped the timeline of massacre reports and Finnish government approval to send spare parts to the UAE military; then uncovered the video evidence that put the Patrias in a specific area.

Two other separate investigations from spring 2019 looked at a breakdown in Neste’s supply chain integrity in Indonesia, where it sources palm oil for its biofuel product at mills that take illegally-harvested palm fruit; and showed how loopholes in Finnish legislation allow Neste to use a product called PFAD in its biofuel and classify it as ‘waste’ – something which is not legal in any other European country where PFAD products are available.

About Free Press Unlimited 

Free Press Unlimited is a not-for-profit organisation which runs media projects in more than two dozen countries around the world, providing training for journalists especially in conflict zones, to provide their audiences with trustworthy news and information.

They also run projects supporting media literacy and more equality in media,

The organisation says that nominees in the Newcomer of the Year award “show extraordinary dedication to journalism as a means to hold those in power accountable and to serve as a watchdog in the public interest. They manage to share stories that would otherwise be left untold.”

The award winners in a number of categories will be announced at an event in The Hague at the end of October.

The three nominated News Now Finland investigative stories are: