This issue explores how zines, often championed as a force for good, can also be used for harm. Our friends in Finland learned this lesson in December as disinformation zines popped up in mailboxes throughout the country. Calling COVID-19 a conspiracy and a scam to restrict fundamental rights, the zine was a few pages long. It urged residents not to get the vaccine and to do away with masks, according to Finland broadcasting service YLE.
Among the recipients was Mikko Pietilä, Chief Physician of the Hospital District of Southwest Finland — who, as you can imagine, was not a fan.
“I glanced through it, snorted and stuck in the paper collection [bin].”
According to officials, the disinformation zine was distributed widely in Turku city and elsewhere in Finland. Like many countries in Europe, Finland is facing a third wave of COVID-19 cases. With a population of 5.5 million, the country was up to 76,000 cases, with 822 deaths, and 15.2% vaccinated, as of March 29.
“Finland has freedom of speech, and you can blurt out all sorts of things,” Pietilä told YLE.“It’s nonetheless unfortunate that this sort of information is being distributed.” In the meantime, he’s got an idea of what residents can do with the zine: “The paper collection container is definitely the right place for them.”