He’s entirely correct…
Contrary to what Helsinki University criminal law prof. Kimmo Nuotio says in the article, that “limits to the freedom of speech are anchored in European values and history”, they’re a recent introduction. European hate speech laws came into being during the 1990’s. Here’s a snippet from the former Jyllands-Posten’s cultural editor, Flemming Rose stating the opposite:
When did this trend start? why did we end up in this situation?
You may be surprised but in fact it all started in Western Europe, the birthplace of the Enlightenment and the doctrine of religious toleration.
And how did it start?
It started in the 1990s, right after the fall of the Berlin Wall, with laws criminalizing Holocaust denial, and these laws are driven by what I would call a benign utopia, Europe’s dream of a world without hate. But as we know from history, when it comes to utopia, the first victim is always freedom. Every time we try to create it, a more perfect world.
The states of Europe, the Protestants and the Catholics worked out a doctrine of religious tolerance that in fact grew out of the right to freedom of religion. The fact that Protestants had to accept that they would be living side-by-side with Catholics whom they despised and hated, and vice-versa.
So historically freedom and tolerance are two sides of the same coin, and the bigger the tension between these two concepts, the more a threat to the foundation of liberal democracies. So I have to, we have to reeducate ourselves about the close relationship between freedom and tolerance. There can be no freedom in society without society being able to tolerate opinions that the majority don’t like.
And freedom doesn’t make sense if it doesn’t imply a wide understanding of tolerance of opinions that we may despise and dislike. So the relationship between tolerance and freedom is one key concept that we have to reeducate ourselves about.
Kimmo Nuotio responds to a TT tweet:
Always beware of the self-appointed arbiters of “proper speech”, they will only support that speech which aligns with their own ideological views. Hate speech laws are more detrimental to the health of society than what they supposedly aim to achieve.
Halla-aho: Restrict economic migration, relax defamation laws
The Finns Party chair on Saturday said he doesn’t want to relax visa rules for workers from outside the EU.
Finns Party chair Jussi Hallo-aho told Yle’s Saturday programme Ykkösaamu that he disagreed with any proposal to dismantle Finland’s practice of prioritising job applicants from EU member states or the European Economic Area.
The Finland Chamber of Commerce (FCC), which represents 20,000 companies in Finland, recently proposed a number of changes to make it easier for people from around the world to work in Finland, such as scrapping the rule of prioritising European labour.
Halla-aho, who has been convicted for religious defamation and ethnic agitation, said abandoning the rule would lead to an influx of cheap labour into the country that would eventually burden taxpayers.
The Finns Party chair said he did not see it necessary to open up the Finnish labour market beyond the EU and EEA, which is home to some 500 million people.
Speaking on Ykkösaamu, Halla-aho also called for Finland relaxing laws on ethnic agitation and blasphemy as current rules are “too restrictive on anti-immigrant discussion.”
Commenting on the programme, Helsinki University criminal law professor Kimmo Nuotio was quick to shoot down Halla-aho’s ideas of loosening defamation laws, telling Yle that the Finns Party chair’s proposals were politically motivated.
Nuotio highlighted that Finland has an international obligation to respect laws pertaining to defamation and that limits to the freedom of speech are anchored in European values and history.
“Personally, I find this type of discussion harmful — it’s an attempt to undercut the basis for these laws,” Nuotio explained.
The professor also pointed out that while the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has issued many guidelines defending politicians’ right to engage in critical debate, the ECHR has also stressed that laws have been enacted to combat racism and xenophobia.
Since the Finns Party was established in 1995, a number of its politicians, including immigration hardliner Halla-aho, have been convicted of online hate speech. The party split in 2017 when Halla-aho was elected chair, with co-founder Timo Soini and other more moderate party leaders leaving to form an ill-fated new party.
Halla-aho’s Finns Party came close to winning April’s parliamentary election, earning just one seat fewer in the new parliament than the Social Democrats.