Finland Free Speech

Finland: Sister of former Finns presidential candidate has an excellent piece on freedom of expression…….


Bright as her sister Laura…



I suggest that Saara review what Flemming Rose spoke about on Finnish state TV concerning the topic. Perhaps she already did.




Restrictions on freedom of expression and its consequences

Freedom of expression is an interpretative concept.

What is freedom of speech?

Freedom of expression involves jokes, spoofing, provocation, agitation and criticism. Opinions in the field of freedom of expression may upset some and may be considered disruptive and unpleasant. But freedom of speech is just about human right to say unpleasant things, without the fear of punishment. Of course, our messages always have natural sanctions, some people may no longer like us, but that is the risk we take. We always bear the consequences of our own actions and our messages. Freedom of expression is precisely that the person carries the responsibility for his speech and writing.


Freedom of expression is important because it is not only about the freedom of the person to express his/her opinions but also about the right of the person and the need to vent their feelings. Freedom of expression promotes individual well-being. Thought, thinking, and exchanging opinions freely are a necessary prerequisite. Freedom of expression is one of the basic foundations of democracy and an element that maintains social security.


Problems with freedom of expression



Freedom of expression is defined in the Constitution of Finland as a fundamental right of a person, including the right to express, disclose and receive information, opinions and other messages without any prior notice (Finnish Constitution, Chapter 2, Section 12).

However, freedom of expression can be limited in certain situations, for example, freedom of expression does not allow violations of other fundamental rights or human dignity. In addition, criminal offense punishable acts have been defined as Defamation, an Illegal Threat and Incitement against an Ethnic Group. Restrictions on freedom of expression must always be standardized, meaning that the freedom of expression cannot be blocked by the sole authority. And the “core” of freedom of expression must never be interfered (speaking in the core is allowed, legislation and authorities can be criticized, research results published and social issues such as social security, immigration and crime are freely discussed).


However, the definition of freedom of expression is not sufficiently comprehensive that misunderstandings do not arise. The expressions are, in part, vague, for example, the expression “incitement against an ethnic group” is not only difficult, but also difficult to prove. In the final game, the court determines the sentence on the basis of the judge’s own values. The definition of the boundary is therefore somewhat arbitrary.




Freedom of expression is also partly an issue of interpretation. People see the same thing differently, interpret it differently and the facts are understood in different ways. Various interpretations of people are influenced by cultural background, value, age and gender. Below are some different ways of interpretation.


  • Selective (selective) observation . The human brain can not handle all the stimuli at the same time and therefore the person selects only certain perspectives for interest. The choice of perspectives is influenced by the person’s own motivation, experiences, expectations, attitudes, prejudices and stereotypes. Selective observation leads to distortion of the observations.
  • Illusion of understanding of bias . People overestimate their own understanding of controversial and controversial issues.
  • Blind point theory . The person examines the arguments opposing biased modes and no questioning his own position.
  • Myside bias. Personal bias. A person collects and verifies positively the evidence that confirms their own arguments.
  • Enlightening. A person believes he has been enlightened, but considers the same “enlightenment” of the opponent as biased and attentive.
  • Naive realisms. The person feels that he or she finds things as they really are, but the opponent does not.
  • Motivated skepticism.  A person interprets the opposing arguments prejudiced and skeptical, even if the accuracy of the information would be formally proven.


The aforementioned selective observation and ‘myside bias’ combined with naive realism, enlightenment, blind point theory and motivated skepticism provide a versatile explanation of why the opposing sides simply can not see the validity of each other’s claims. Research has found that both the defenders of the matter and the opponents not only interpreted the same situation differently but actually saw different things. This is one of the explanatory factors why things and phenomena run counterclockwise, that is to say, cause so-called polar tensions. Right to freedom of speech is discussed on a case-by-case basis, the general interpretation is based on the so-called ” fundamental right interpretation. It should be remembered that interpretation is always someone’s view. People interpret things differently.


Voices and drawings


In Finland’s legislation, hate is primarily the violation of chapter 11, section 10 of the Penal Code against an ethnic group. In addition, guilty of defamation and illegal threats is a punishable crime. According to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, hate speech is the expression of disseminating, inciting, promoting or justifying racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance.


Hate speech is a hate crime. It has been reported that some of the hate crimes are opportunistic, where circumstances impose a degree of action. Criminology has mentioned a theory called “broken window” where researchers wanted to find out why the amount of crime is significantly lower in some suburban areas than others, although the economic and demographic features were similar. The researchers conducted an experiment in South Bronx (New York), where the expensive and intact car was parked and left on the street for a long time to stand. The car remained intact, but as soon as the scientists broke a small side window on the car, within a few hours the car was turned upside down and completely destroyed. On the basis of this theory, it is justified that the state should take certain measures to reduce hate.


Voicelessness also has an impact on the individual. Being subjected to helplessness causes a person both physical and psychological disadvantages. At the individual level, conscious breathing, headache, elevated blood pressure, dizziness and rapid heartbeat have been observed. Some scientists say that African American high blood pressure may possibly be associated with suppressed hatred in addition to genetic factors. The psychological disadvantages of speech are fears, nightmares and social exclusion. The vice-voice seems to be most strongly affecting children and young people, but of course it has an impact on society as intolerance prevents a fair and meaningful debate.


However, the gossip should not be confused with the angry speech, alas, but rather a line-upit is difficult to make between angry talk and hymn. It is not easy to define obedience because there is no direct, universally recognized definition, and this makes the borderline between the two speeches. Surprisingly, it can be said that the hottest interpretation is “in the ear of the listener”. Freedom of expression is governed politically, power relations influence who gets their voice heard and who does not. But unlike hate speech, angry speech can be useful to us, among other things, warns us that something is wrong, either in a political body or in a speaker itself. It may also suggest that change is needed and it may bring new opportunities.


Since the hottest speech is partly interpretative, and because we interpret things differently (see above), who can define what is hate and what is the angry talk, that is, allowed criticism? Where does the limit on the limitation of freedom of expression go? It is quite impossible to allow some speech and at the same time to deny something else.


Helen L. Carr does not find alternatives to the freedom of speech because, according to him, there are a large number of people on all controversial topics who find them hostile, unpleasant and discriminating, and if we define some topics of speech as hottest ones, at the same time we should remove all controversial subjects as there is intolerance politically always on both sides. For example, in the United States, if you are discussing a subject such as “black lives matter”, there is always someone who feels the conversation obnoxious, offensive, and even disgusting, and the same phenomenon can be observed if you talk about “blue lives matter”. Professor Williams of Human Development is also on the same line. According to him,


Freedom of expression is about human right to say things that are unpleasant. The collective nature of the freedom of expression is precisely related to the ideas and exchange of knowledge of individuals so that we can build better ideas and find the truth. In general, there is not only one truth, and therefore the arguments of the arguments are the best, so that we have the opportunity to overthrow them, with the threat that our argument would be wrong or that it would only contain part of the truth because only in the collision of opinions can we find the truth. But we can not reach the truth if the information is removed or the free discussion is denied. Free discussion and argumentation will help us make better conclusions. Controversial speech and angry speech are not a hate, and they should not be seen as such.


“Truth is the new hate speech. During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”- Orwell


Restrictions on freedom of expression and its consequences


Freedom of expression is often prohibited through censorship. Most often, censorship is based on protecting people, usually children, being exposed to words, ideas, and images intended for adults. This is usually acceptable. But at some point, the turnaround occurred in terms of freedom of expression and the spirit of the time is now such that it is believed that the most devastating thing that can happen to people is to say something that could offend them.


In particular, over the last decade, respect for and protection of freedom of expression has declined globally, including in Europe. Alarming trends can therefore be seen across Europe. Even Danish and English – historical speakers for freedom of speech have opted for “social harmony” over the freedom of speech. Indeed, in all countries of the European Union (including Iceland and Norway), in the Reports Without Borders press freedom index in 2016, there was a lower level of freedom of the press compared to 2013. In some cases, considerable backwardness has taken place, for example in Germany the score increased from 10.24% to 14.8% (the less points, the more freedom of the press is respected). In England, the corresponding figures were 16, 89% to 21.7% and Poland was the worst case of 13,


Freedom of expression in Europe does not add a recently signed “Code of Conduct” (COC) between the European Commission and Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube. According to the summary practice, these technical giants have agreed to “review the majority of valid announcements for the removal of illegal hostile speech in less than 24 hours and to remove or block access to such content if needed”. What is this kind of “illegal hostile speech” is not quite clear. It refers to the Framework Decision and national laws. However, the definition of a framework decision on what is “hating hate” is not very clear, and the national laws of hate speech vary widely.


Restricting the freedom of expression also leads to the secretion of our other rights. Below are some of the consequences of restricting freedom of speech.


Psychological reactance


Many empirical studies have shown that the limitation will have emotional consequences. Psychological reactance is a person’s emotional rebellion in which a person chooses something the opposite of what is expected or asked of him. This is not so much a question of disagreement, but of a person’s means of preserving freedom and independence. This reactance (reverse psychology) often occurs with children and adolescents but has also been found in many adults. During a reactant experience, people tend to be hostile and have aggressive feelings more than a threatening message source than they themselves say.


Three types of reactance behavior have been observed: 1) Straight, “forbidden fruit tastes sweeter”. A person feels that his freedom is threatened through some kind of denial and this motivates a person to do something completely different. 2) Indirect, “White Bear”. Psychologist Wegner made a study for people who reported that a white bear should not think. The study found that in the first 5 minutes they were not able to think of a white bear, and after 5 minutes they thought it twice as much as a control group. Our minds tend to come back to an idea that you should not think about. 3) Curiosity, subjective reactance. Experiments have shown that people are looking or doing something more likely if they have a warning label, such as books, which are “forbidden” are more popular than not prohibited. In some cases, a person can comply with a ban, but develops a strong rejection reaction to whoever has ordered it.


Restricting freedom of expression limits the person’s independence and the freedom to say certain things. This inevitably follows emotional sanctions, emotional rebellion. During the reactance experience, people have tended to be aggressive to the source of the forbidden message, more than they themselves say, as well as continuous constraints, gather frustration and frustrated feelings of hatred. It has also been found that if a person’s fundamental freedoms are threatened, socio-economic impact is attained. One of the most famous examples is the ban on prohibition, even though it prevented the distribution of alcohol, but many retrospective studies show that the ban resulted in increased alcohol consumption and increased crime. Limitation often leads to resistance.


More prejudices


Prejudice is more or less learned. People tend to look for evidence that supports their own opinions and prejudices and ignore evidence that is inconsistent with their opinions (see above, blind point theory, myside bias, motivated skepticism, naive realism). If freedom of expression is restricted, certain opinions remain outside, and people will not be able to mirror their own opinions openly. Presenting frustrating opinions is fruitful and really important. Studies have shown that prejudices are not avoided by limiting the freedom of expression, but people should be taught to appreciate other perspectives; in addition, diverse information acquisition and positive inter-group contacts reduce prejudices.


Add extreme phenomena, radicalization and confrontation


Limited freedom of speech can lead to oppression, human rights violations and other serious penalties and issues. Social media has become excel in banana, messages are being removed and banned by their writers. However, the Brooking study states that bannaus and the elimination of accounts not only adds but exacerbates radicalization, especially those that are not yet banned. The findings of the Greenwich University study also showed that banana was actually a cause of increased violence. Grouping people into only one particular closed group only reinforces their undesirable behavior and strengthens their bias. For this reason, the presentation of several different perspectives would reduce extreme phenomena and confrontation.


It weakens democracy and increases the downturn


Restricting freedom of expression is typical of totalitarian states. In countries where there is no or essentially limiting the freedom of expression, it is often impossible to distinguish bad ideas from good because there is no such thing as the so-called “righteous” information. Freedom of expression is a prerequisite for effective democratic participation. Society needs open communication to change and growth, and if people can not speak or dare to talk, share ideas and opinions, it inevitably affects the individual autonomy and freedom of the individual, which constitutes a serious obstacle to the individual’s personal development. People become less profitable, they decline, and such a declining society can no longer compete with other countries. Restricting freedom of expression will cause a long period of social restraint and discontent. The whole society is declining.


Increases inequality


Equality means that it must be as critical to every subject, whether it be ideological or religious. Challenge you and keep. None of the arguments and beliefs are any more valuable or worthless; no one should be put in a different position. Freedom of religion is inextricably linked with the defense of freedom of expression. Religion, however, is not really a matter of faith, but of political power. This is good to be aware. The requirement that certain things can not be said, either because of respect for faith or respect for cultures, is merely a means of suppressing different opinions and disagreements. And by accepting that certain things can not be said or certain things can not be spoken because they may be offensive, there is a clear unequal restriction of freedom of speech. In practice, it is impossible to reduce or eliminate introspection simply by prohibiting it. For reasons of social justice, we must protect free expression. There is no targeted phrase freedom, freedom of speech belongs to everyone.




Freedom of expression is politically restricted and regulated, and these restrictions always push for some purpose. Discussions do not happen in a vacuum, but power relations influence who gets their voice heard and who does not. More recently, it has seemed that the limitation of speech and the determination of speech have become a way to modify irritating political arguments that are inappropriate, which has resulted in the fact that only certain things can be talked about and not certain. But who has the right to define these? There is no fully-qualified person, every one of us has our own goal that we drive.


Democracy can only work if every citizen believes that his voice is important. If people feel that they no longer have this right, democracy suffers. By limiting our freedom of expression, we can also say goodbye to free thinking, innovation and change. Rejection of the argument without justification and without open discussion is unfavorable to democracy. Also rejection of arguments that may potentially offend us is useless to limit, because if we go on this path, we can immediately cancel all communication because there is always someone who is injured. And to allow freedom of speech only to a certain party, there is no freedom of speech. Limiting the freedom of expression does not solve the problem.


The author of this blog takes full responsibility for her writing.


(Blog writing can also be found on my blog: //

Sources & Appendices:

Ceci, SJ & Williams, WM (2018). Who Decides What Is Acceptable Speech on Campus? Why Restricting Free Speech Is Not the Answer. SageJournals. Retrieved from: //

Cornell Chronicle (2018). Psychologists: There is no alternative to Free Speech. Retrieved from: //

Foreign Policy (2016). Europe’s freedom of speech fail. Retrieved from: //

Gelber, K. & McNamara, LJ (2016). Evidencing the Harms of Hate Speech, 22 (3) Social Identities 324-341. Fetched:   //

Herz, M. & Molnar, P. (2012). The Content and Context of Hate Speech. Rethinking Regulation and Responses. Oxford Press.

PsychologyToday (2014). Principle number nine: Freedom of Speech. Retrieved from: // Retrieved from: //

Steindl, C. & Jonas, E. & Sittenthaler, S. & Traut-Mattausch, E. & Greenberg, J. (2015). Understanding Psychological Reactance, 223 (4): 205-214. Retrieved from: //

The New York Times (2012). The Harm in Free Speech. Retrieved from: //

Science term bank. Freedom of speech. Retrieved from: //

Wikipedia. Reactance (Psychology). Retrieved from: //

Wikipedia. Freedom of speech. Retrieved from: //

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