The problem is the Finnish legal concept of “incitement of an ethnic group”…
What this law does is weaponize the judicial system to go after people whose political convictions run counter to that of the status quo. For good or bad political opinions exist, their strength, whether they’re sound opinions or not should be challenged in marketplace of ideas, not charged in a court of law. MTV3’s Jarkko Sipilä has a point, but he doesn’t go far enough, (perhaps he can’t and maintain his position) it’s not just that the prosecutor is engaging in a strange reading of the law, but that the law exists in the first place.
Comment by Jarkko Sipilä: Prosecutor General’s strange policy on the writings of Päivi Räsänen – Cleansing the internet won’t work no matter how hard you try
Prosecutor General Raija Toiviainen’s decision to open a pre-trial investigation of Päivi Räsänen’s 15-year-old statement is odd, writes Jarkko Sipilä, head of the MTV Uutinen Criminal Office.
This is still Räsänen’s text, which can be found online. Police are now investigating whether Räsänen has been guilty of agitation against the people.
– The incitement of an ethnic group is a continuous crime, that is, as long as the message or writing is accessible to the public. Its expiration period will not begin until the [post] has been deleted, Toiviainen told MTV News on Monday.
Otherwise, the crime would have expired in five years.
The point is, with regard to Räsänen’s text, that the incitement will continue as long as the text can be found online. By reading the reasoning in the law, it is also criminal to share a link to Räsänen’s text.
An interesting question is where to draw the border or whether it can be drawn at all. The Internet and its video services include some racist and other questionable material, such as scenes from the 1960s movie Pekka and Pätkä Nekkereinä, or 90s entertainment on the Roma and the Sami.
According to the Prosecutor General, the issue is not whether the text or video was racist at the time of publication, but whether it is now. In other words, old material can fulfill the character of crime if it provokes a group of people.
When the Parliamentary Legal Committee once emphasized that making illegal content available could also extend to the webmaster, should you now apply for an interview with Youtube Finland’s Country Manager?
It should be noted, however, that the criminal liability of the administrator implies intentionality and, above all, awareness of the illegality of the material.
The accusation could become thick. The amount of action would be such that the maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment for incitement could be met.
And the web is not the only place where questionable material is available. The Metropolitan Library has a 1942 translation of Adolf Hitler’s My Struggle. There are as many as 101 reservations.
Should there be an investigation now, with the heads of the library services in the metropolitan area suspected? Mein Kampf book would surely fulfill the criteria of gross agitation.
There are endless examples of material that can be interpreted as racist today in the fields of culture, literature, art, religion and politics.
And as political rivals and others begin to tell each other about the past, reports of crime can come at an accelerating pace.
The prosecutor, no matter how hard you try, can not undo the net. Studying old material – such as the text of Räsäsänen’s, 15 years old – is an unnecessary interpretation of the law.
The world has changed, but history cannot be changed or darkened. Rather, it is worth learning about.