Finland Speech Laws

Free Speech in Finland Not so Free…….

The astute Finnish blogger Vasarahammer, alerts the Tundra Tabloids to an online article, published last Wednesday, Oct,12,08, by a minuscule central Finland paper called, The Greater-Jyväskylä News, that devoted a sizable portion of its rather small paper to the important subject of free speech on the Internet.

In the article titled, ‘What can be written on the Internet?‘ – ‘Mitä netissä saa kirjoittaa?‘ (pdf), the newspaper ponders the questions concerning certain limitations applied to free speech, which govern what is lawful and what is not. Here in Scandinavia there are hate-speech laws on the books, at least in Finland and in Sweden, called, “kiihottamisesta kansan-ryhmää vastaan” (Fin), or “hets mot folkgrupp” (Swe).

These laws were put into place to safeguard minorities, particularly Jewish minorities, in the aftermath of World War Two where over six million Jews were brutally butchered by the National Socialists and their supporters in Europe.

No matter how well intended, these anti-free speech laws are highly flawed due to ambiguity in the reading of the law, which can be seen in the progression of the interpretation of the law to also include ideologies, like Islam for an example. Here is what the City of Jyväskylä’s Chief Criminal Detective, Raimo Peltovuori, has to say about what is currently allowed under Finnish law to print, and what isn’t.

Also worth noting, the article included a picture of Vasarahammer’s blog.


A warning shot fired across Vasarahammer’s bow?

SuurJyväskylä:Voiko omassa blogissaan arvostella esimerkiksi juuta-laisia tai muslimeja?– Ei voi, sillä silloin se on rikos kiihottamisesta kansanryhmää vastaan. Rikoslaissa sanotaan, että joka yleisön keskuuteen levittää lausuntoja tai muita tiedonantoja, joissa uhataan, panetellaan tai solvataan jotakin kansallista, rodullista, etnistä tai uskonnollista ryhmää tai niihin rinnastettavaa kansanryhmää on tuomittavaa. Näistä tehdään rikosilmoituksia poliisille aina silloin tällöin.

Translation: Can you criticize for example, Jews or Muslims on your own blog? -No you can’t, then that would be a crime of incitement against an ethnic group. Criminal law states that any statements or information spread to the general public which threatens, slanders or insults a certain national, racial or ethnic, religious group, or equates them with a national group is a punishable offense. Complaints over this has been filed with the police every now and then.

TT: Oh but wait, there’s more to come! Peltovuori describes Finnish law as protecting anyone from insult! He continues:

“Suomessa on sananvapaus; miten sitä rajoitetaan?– Meillä on sananvapaus, mutta teksteillä ei saa ketään loukata. Joku joka osaa kirjoittaa taitavasti ja kirjoittaa yleisellä tasolla, voi kirjoittaa sillä tavalla, että lailla on siihen vaikea puuttua. Meillekin tulee joskus ilmoitus loukkaavasta kirjoituksesta, jossa meidänkin mielestä puhutaan asiasta yleisellä tasolla, mutta joku on tunnistanut, että se koskettaa häntä. Sitten ollaan näyttökysymysten kanssa tekemisissä ja pitää etsiä loukkauksen raja. Toisaalta esimerkiksi politiikassa olevilla tulee olla korkeampi kynnys sietää arvostelua ja arviointia kuin muiden.

Translation: Finland has freedom of speech, how is it limited? We have freedom of speech, but a text can’t insult anyone. Someone who knows how to write skillfully and writes in a generalized way, the law has difficulty in getting invloved. We sometimes get information of an insulting written text, that in our opinion is written in a generalized way, but someone feels it was about him/herself, then it’s a question of proof and the need to find, in a case concering insulting, where the border lies. On the other hand, for example, someone in politics, the bar is raised which allows for more criticism and assessment than for others.

Did you catch all that? According to Chief Criminal Detective, Raimo Peltovuori, to openly insult the religion of another is to invite the long arm of the law. But please take note how that interpretation only goes one way, nowhere do we read or hear about the authorities clamping down on Muslims who preach on the inferiority of the non-Muslim, and that they are condemend to hell, or that gays are sinners etc etc.

While all of this is highly offensive to others, yet, it’s considered free speech, a part of their religion and to be protected. Well, I couldn’t agree more, as long as they do not call for violence towards others, free speech allows for the uncomfortable, yes, it even allows for the distasteful.

But going after the ideology of Islam, which is indeed as fair of a target as any, would be deemed by the detective as being a criminal offense, and should land the offender into the clink. You now begin to see what we are up against here in Finland and in Sweden. With laws like these on the books, both countries look like ideal platforms from which Islamic supporters and their stooges can lobby for similar legislation throughout the EU and elsewhere.

This is a dream situation for the Organization of the Islamic Conference to energize its push to further Islamize the rest of the European continent. Believe me, they look to Finland and to Sweden as ‘trail blazers’ for the kind of ‘peace and understanding founded on mutual tolerance and acceptance’ they have planned for us. But instead, it will mean a Europe becoming more Islamized than Muslims becoming more Westernized.

Give me a modernist Muslim who looks at such speech laws as stupid and counter productive, rejects political Islam in all of its colors and sees no problem in signing the Muslim Charter of Understanding, and I’ll support him 100%. Any other Muslim that refuses to do the same, can just go take a hike, preferablly outside the borders of the EU and stay there. KGS

H/T: Vasarahammer
UPDATE: Vasarahammer notes: “Somebody already mentioned that if you take Peltovuori’s statement literally, it is impossible to criticize Abdullah Tammi (FIP) or Ben Zyskowicz (Jewish MP of Coalition Party) without being guilty of incitement against a group of people. Peltovuori’s statement raises concern from another point of view as well. The police are generally respected in Finnish society and so far I have assumed them to be more level-headed than the multiculturalists in the Ministry of Interior. Peltovuori’s interpretation of the law is even more strict than state prosecutor Mika Illman’s view.”
Like I said, speech laws are highly problematic, unjust and counter-productive. I am waiting for a Muslim here in Finland to slip up and call me a Kafir, and see how far the state is willing to take it.

One Response

  1. Somebody already mentioned that if you take Peltovuori’s statement literally, it is impossible to criticize Abdullah Tammi (FIP) or Ben Zyskowicz (Jewish MP of Coalition Party) without being guilty of incitement against a group of people.

    Peltovuori’s statement raises concern from another point of view as well. The police are generally respected in Finnish society and so far I have assumed them to be more level-headed than the multiculturalists in the Ministry of Interior. Peltovuori’s interpretation of the law is even more strict than state prosecutor Mika Illman’s view.

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