Internet trolls jailed over pro-Russia hate campaign against Finnish journalist

The founder and contributors of anti-immigration websites MV-Lehti and Uber Uutiset, have received prison sentences for harassing and slandering a Finnish reporter.

Tabatha Leggett
Tabatha Leggett NewsMavens, Finland
Internet trolls jailed over pro-Russia hate campaign against Finnish journalist - NewsMavens
Jessikka Aro. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

This is the first time that a European country has taken action again Russian disinformation spread through social media.

Jessikka Aro, a reporter for the Finnish national broadcaster Yle, started investigating how Russian troll factories are trying to influence public discourse in Finland in 2014.

Her reporting prompted anti-immigration websites MV-Lehti and Uber Uutiset to publish her contact details as well as false, derogatory information about her. Over the last four years, Aro has received death threats, as well as threats of sexual violence, from online trolls.

After filing a complaint with the police, Aro’s slanderers received prison sentences and fines last week.

Details from the story:

  • Reporter Jessikka Aro started investigating Russian troll factories in 2014.
  • Her reporting led MV-Lehti, an anti-immigration, pro-Russian publication, to publish false, disparaging information about her across social media.
  • Aro was subsequently threatened by online trolls and doxed.After filing a complaint with the police, three of Aro’s trolls were given prison sentences last week.
  • Ilja Janitskin, who ran MV-Lehti, was convicted on 16 criminal counts related to his website.
  • He was given a 22-month prison sentence.Johan Bäckman received a one-year, suspended jail sentence for aggravated defamation and stalking.One other MV-Lehti contributor was sentenced to three-months in prison.
  • Between them, the three individuals have been ordered to pay €136,000 in damages as well as Aro’s legal costs.
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.

WITH FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM:
SUPPORTED BY:

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

STRATEGIC PARTNERS:
NewsMavens
NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
CORE TEAM
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at https://newsmavens.com/transparency-policy
System.Threading.Tasks.Task`1[System.Threading.Tasks.VoidTaskResult];