A media company in Finland is facing high level criticism after it allegedly sacked a female newspaper editor because she is in a lesbian relationship.

Today the country’s President, Tarja Halonen, said she had been shocked to hear of the case.

Johanna Korhonen claims she was dismissed as editor of regional daily paper Lapin Kansa because she is in a relationship with a woman.

The chief executive of Alma Media said that she was sacked yesterday after less than a month in the job because she had lied during the interview process.

“Lying in [Alma Media's] book means that I have spoken about spouses and children without specifically impressing on them that spouse in this case refers to a woman and a not to a man,” Ms Korhonen told Finnish News Agency STT.

Reporters on the paper have demanded the resignation of the Alma group chief executive, Kai Telanne, for his part in the sacking.

Readers have flooded the paper with complaints and some have cancelled subscriptions.

President Halonen said Alma Media should explain why they sacked Ms Korhonen.

“We asked whether she or her spouse were actively involved in politics,” Mr Telanne told STT.

While Ms Korhonen’s partner is a candidate for the local council in the city where the newspaper is based, the couple said she suspended campaigning when Ms Korhonen was appointed as editor.