This all goes back to Halla-aho’s own case, in which he was wrongfully convicted and fined for seeking an answer to the question of what is permissible to say under Finnish law, and who can say what.
Posing three questions to the then state prosecuting attorney, Mika Illman, Halla-aho provided three instances in which the media wrongfully characterized Finns. He then suggested what would happen if minority groups were equally subjected to similar characterizations, which he stated he did not believe were true. Would that be permissible as well?
He was politically persecuted by the court, found guilty, fined and forever smeared with that wrongful conviction by the media, most notably the state media YLE in its English news site almost every time his name is mentioned.
Here are a few excerpts of the IL interview:
Jussi Halla-aho, the chairman of the Finns party, criticized the courts in an interview with Iltalehti, he considers the jurisprudence of their decisions, that is, the interpretation of laws as an obstacle to freedom of expression.
Jussi Halla-aho: Islam, Immigration and Sexual Minorities are the New Soviet Union – “Every Period Has Own Holy Cows”
– During the Cold War, the criticism of the Soviet Union was socially objectionable, and it could result in a political sidelining. In today’s Finland and in Western countries, the broader context of immigration, Islam, sexual minorities, the European Union and some other issues have become the new Soviet Union, Halla-Aho said.
– As defers of national interests and opponents of immigration, the true Finns are unfortunately alone on the political ground. The only problem, however, is not that other parties are making and declaring damaging policies. The problem is that it is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous to criticize a line that is becoming increasingly narrow in the atmosphere, “.
– As defenders of national interest and opponents of harmful immigration, the Finns party is unfortunately all alone in the political field. The only problem, however, is that other parties make and support harmful policies. The problem is also that, because of the increasingly narrow-minded sentiment, criticism of the prevailing line becomes increasingly difficult and dangerous.
– “Every period is bound to have its own sacred cows, and the real taboo is identified by the reactions that the shedding of the taboo generates. In particular, in the areas of immigration, Islam and sexual identities, a morally and often even legally permissible area of speech is narrowing all the time, i.e. deviations from this accepted liturgy of speaking on these issues. In the context of a totally unreasonable reaction: either through lynching in social media or court litigation.
– More and more often, the interpretation of existing law continues to stretch so that it is unclear to people what is legal to say and what is not. I believe that it is absolutely intolerable for the rule of law, and for legal certainty, if the legality of the various statements, the expressions of opinion, must always be in the test of law, instead of being unequivocally aware of whether it is permissible or not to say a thing, Halla-Aho says.
– There are so-called hate speech laws, mainly laws on incitement against a group of people, and violation of worship. Then we have the principle of equality, which contains quite worrying elements, and the Youth Act, which has now received a lot of page space over the so-called Twitter-brouhaha with the Finns party youth league, he says.
– No normal person is in favor of outrageous speech or offensive speech in itself. It is not of intrinsic value, but on the other hand, it is a much worse option to criminalize the speech on the grounds that someone feels it offensive or disturbing because that is precisely the heart of freedom of speech. There is no value in such a literal sense which allows a harmless and unoffended speech. There is no such thing as the protection by the law, but freedom of expression specifically means that people should have the opportunity to express their opinions even when they are not mainstream. It is critical to social debate that this happens. We are not, therefore, in favor of incitement of a group of people literally.