The Supreme Court did not give Nostokonepalvelu Oy a right to appeal in its case of claims of damages against Sanoma Corporation. Therefore the Helsinki Court of Appeal's decision to dismiss the case became legally binding. The Supreme Court sentenced Nostokonepalvelu Oy to pay the litigation expenses.
The dismissed claims were linked to articles on Nostokonepalvelu Oy that appeared in Helsingin Sanomat in 1996 and 1997.
The Helsinki Court of Appeal overruled the earlier decision and dismissed the case in November 2003. In June 2001, the Helsinki District Court had found against Sanoma Corporation and issued a fine totalling FIM 15 million (some EUR 2.5 million) payable to Nostokonepalvelu Oy covering the company's financial damages, together with two fines of FIM 230,000 (some EUR 39,000) each to be paid to Reino and Toivo Nieminen covering mental stress and anxiety related to the case.
Janne Virkkunen, Senior Editor-in-Chief of Helsingin Sanomat considers the decision as a victory for freedom of speech. - The Supreme Court has accepted the arguments behind the decision of the Helsinki Court of Appeal. This proves that the European concept of freedom of speech is understood in Finland. In this sense this decision was very important for the Finnish journalism.
- It is good that the oversized fines of the District Court were overruled, because that kind of level of indemnification would have had a severe impact on the realisation of freedom of speech in Finland, Virkkunen says.
As a result of the Court's decision, Sanoma will release its earlier provision of some EUR 3 million.
Sanoma Corporation, publisher of Helsingin Sanomat, is a part of SanomaWSOY Group.
Janne Virkkunen, Senior Editor-in-Chief of Helsingin Sanomat, tel. +358 9 122 2310
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