HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish police began an investigation on Tuesday at one of the country’s largest media groups, Alma Media, following accusations that its CEO had turned down a top candidate’s appointment as a newspaper editor because of her family arrangements.
“Police have opened a preliminary investigation into suspected discrimination at work in the selection of editor-in-chief at Alma Media,” Detective Superintendent Jari Kinnunen told Reuters.
“It is clear that the CEO has had an essential role (in the selection process).”
The candidate, Paivi Anttikoski, told Finnish media this month that Alma CEO Kai Telanne had blocked her appointment to take the helm of Aamulehti newspaper because her child and husband would have not moved with her to the paper’s district.
Alma Media welcomed the launch of the investigation in a statement on Tuesday. “It is positive that the matter is being investigated. That will ensure legal protection for all parties, and bring clarity,” it said.
An Alma spokeswoman said Telanne and the board will not comment and have nothing to add at the moment.
Alma has previously denied the allegations, saying there were several candidates in the race for the position by the time, and that Anttikoski’s parenthood did not play a role in the final decision. “Alma Media’s recruiting policy is fair, equal and diverse,” it said in a statement last week.
In 2015, CEO Telanne was fined by the Supreme Court for cancelling another editor-in-chief appointment at Alma after having found out the candidate’s sexual orientation, and that her partner had been active in politics.
Alma Media is the publisher of several well-known Finnish titles, including daily Iltalehti and business daily Kauppalehti.
Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Adrian Croft