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Gay Editor Sacked from Editor’s Post at Largest Newspaper in Lapland

Claims dismissal was over sexuality



This article is only available in English. For online instant translation in selected other languages, see below.





HELSINKI, October 1, 2008  –  The newly-appointed lesbian chief editor of a newspaper has been fired, it emerged today.

Johanna Korhonen, who was appointed to her new position at the Lapin Kansa, the largest paper in Lapland, Northern Finland, was told by the title’s owners, Alma Media, that she had been fired on the grounds that management had a lack of confidence in her.

Although “in post”, Ms. Korhonen was due to fully take up her duties in December on the retirement of current chief editor Heikki Tuomi-Nikula.

Ms. Korhonen told reporters from the Finnish media today that the real reason for her sudden dismissal was because “I live in a registered partnership – in other words my spouse is a woman”.

According to  40-years-old Ms. Korhonen, the situation came to a head on Monday in a meeting with Alma Media’s managing director Kai Telanne staff director Mari Vuorte and jurist Mikko Korttila.

She revealed that Mr. Telanne had put “extremely strongly put pressure on me to withdraw from the post of chief editor of the newspaper”.

“According to them, I had hidden my family relations and had deceived them and their confidence,” she said in a statement today.

The Finnish news agency STT reported this afternoon that Ms. Korhonen told commercial broadcaster MTV3 that Alma Media had offered her 100,000 euros (80,000 UK pounds, 140,000 US dollars) in exchange for not disclosing that she had been sacked because of her homosexuality.

Staff at the Lapin Kansa offices in Rovaniemi are reported to be shocked at the sacking.

Seija Lappalainen, the chief shop steward, told the STT agency that reporters had been aware of Ms Korhonen’s sexual orientation – “and did not consider it a problem”.

In a two-paragraph statement, Alma Media Corporation said:

“The Board of Directors of Alma Media Corporation has decided to terminate the management contract of Johanna Korhonen, who was appointed Editor-in-Chief for Lapin Kansa newspaper.  Alma Media restarts the recruitment process for the position immediately.

“Serious lack of trust developed after the signing of the contract prevents Ms Korhonen to act as the Editor-in-Chief at Lapin Kansa.”

Rauno Heinonen, an Alma Media spokesman, told STT that the decision to terminate Ms Korhonen’s contract had nothing to do with her sexual orientation.

Ms. Korhonen, however, insists that she was fired because of her sexuality and is looking as a possible discrimination case in the courts.

Prior to her appointment at Lapin Kansa, Ms. Korhonen was Editor-in-Chief for Journalisti, a Finnish trade paper for journalists.

■ Finland introduced Rekisteröity Parisuhd (Registered Partnership for same sex couples) in 2002.  It is similar to Registreret Partnerskab in Denmark, which in 1989 became the first country in the world to introduce legislation that legally recognised partnerships between same-sex couples.




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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.  

Posted: 1 October 2008 at 17:00 (UK time)


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