Deputy Speaker: Parliament fake video is worrying for our democracy

The fake video manipulates an exchange between Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo and Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho.

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File picture inside Finnish Parliament / Credit: News Now Finland

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Tuula Haatainen (SDP) has spoken out after a fake video of a parliamentary debate got thousands of views online.

The video appears to be an exchange in parliament between Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) and Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho.

It’s been edited to show Halla-aho posing a question to Ohisalo about whether she thinks the safety and security of foreigners takes precedence over the safety and security of Finns.

Instead of then showing Ohisalo’s real answer, the video is cut to show her saying “yes, that is what the government’s position is” which was in fact the response she gave to a different question, asked by a different MP.

Deputy Speaker Haatainen writes on Twitter that “manipulating the content of Parliament’s plenary debates is extremely unacceptable, disparaging and worrying for our democracy.”

“The phenomenon must be stopped” says the former SDP presidential candidate, who adds that she will raise the incident with the relevant authorities.

The video is a crude – but effective – misinformation effort. There’s no sophistication on the level of ‘deep fake’ videos, where images are distorted to the point it can be almost impossible to spot the manipulation.

Interior Minister Ohisalo has thanked Haatainen for her intervention, saying that “picture and video manipulation, fake quotes that erode trust in politicians and, at worst, cause intimidation are extremely disturbing and sad from democracy’s point of view.”

It does not seem that Halla-aho has made any public statements about the fake video, which makes it look like Ohisalo prioritises the rights of foreigners over Finns – something that would fire up Halla-aho’s far right base.