Powerful politicians banning people from partaking in public debate poses democratic problems, a researcher has argued, calling for a politically non-aligned body to issue social media blocking guidelines for MPs and local politicians.
Elected officials in Finland are getting increasingly more flak from the public for blocking critics, dissidents, and ideological opponents on social media.
Media researcher Jukka-Pekka Puro of the University of Turku has noted a spike in politicians blocking followers. According to him, this practice is most widely spread among left-wing MPs representing the Left Alliance and the Greens.
At the end of 2017, former Greens chair Touko Aalto blocked Centre party MP Mikko Kärnä for what Aalto called inappropriate comments. In October 2018 Chancellor of Justice Tuomas Pöysti ruled that then-premier Juha Sipilä had the right to block users from his Twitter account, because it was his personal one and not the official government account. Current Greens leader Maria Ohisalo had previously blocked the daily newspaper Ilta-Sanomat’s editor-in-chief Ulla Appelsin on Twitter, only to remove the block after she assumed the post of interior minister.