They should never have been allowed funding to do so in the first place…
Hate speech laws are demonstrably destructive, oppressive and cruelly unfair. If you’re going to have a free society you have to have the least amount of government intrusion in how and what people talk about. As Jordan Peterson famously once said, “In order to think, you have to be willing to offend”. Allowing a handful of brainiacs in government to be the sole arbitrators of what is “proper” speech is an Orwellian nightmare. Hate speech laws will always be used against those who dare speak out against the government’s agenda, policies and protected elite. In other words, tyranny.
Police cut back on hate speech investigation – number of racist cybercrime writings collapsed
Last year, the prosecutor’s office received more than half the number of criminal cases of incitement against an ethnic group than a year earlier.
Racist blog posts end up in criminal investigations far less often than in previous years.
A total of 227 criminal cases have been filed with the prosecutor over the past four years under the name of ‘agitation’ against an ethnic group. Last year, the amount of cases collapsed.
While 76 prosecutions were received by the prosecutor in 2018, the number of cases opened the following year was 31.
One reason for the development is that police are no longer actively investigating hate speech offenses on the Internet as before. In 2017, the police received earmarked funding for, among other things, hiring cybercrime investigators.
Since then, there has been no funding and operations have been reduced. Last year, the Police Board reported that police used up to ten people a year to detect and investigate hate speech.
– Investigating these matters requires special expertise. And if their investigation is dispersed among untrained police, it can reduce the number of incoming cases, says Raija Toiviainen, the Prosecutor General.
The number of reports of incitement offenses recorded by the police clearly decreased already in 2018. However, last year the number started to increase again.
“I wouldn’t really believe it”
When a suspected crime is labeled as incitement against an ethnic group, its prosecution is vested in the Prosecutor General. This arrangement is intended, inter alia, to ensure uniform solutions.
But could the decline in cases simply be due to people writing less threatening, insulting or slanderous messages against a group of people than before?
– I wouldn’t really believe it when I hear from many people how hard the dividing lines in Finland are and how they talk about it. So I don’t think this phenomenon has diminished – quite the contrary, Toiviainen says.
Måns Enqvist, Police Inspector of the Police Board, is more hopeful. He says he believes that the lively public debate on the subject may have taught “sowers-of-hate” where the line is in criminal acts.
– But yes, the downward trend of hate-groups has had its own effect when active revelatory activity has declined.
Less than half of the prosecution will result in a conviction
Less than half of the incitement offenses on the prosecutor’s table brings a conviction. In 2015-2019, 49 percent of the cases finally settled were prosecuted.
The incitement against an ethnic group has resulted in fines almost invariably in recent years. In only five of the 78 cases were the charges dismissed.
In other words, the prosecutor has rarely referred unclear cases to lawyers. They have already led to a decision not to prosecute or to limit the preliminary investigation.
Most of the cases investigated by the prosecutor have been racist blog posts. However, in recent years, at least one case of suspected anti-Semitic stickers in the neighborhood has also been investigated as a result of incitement against an ethnic group. It was not prosecuted.
By law, incitement against an ethnic group is a threat, defamation or insult to a group based on, for example, race, color, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. The law defines the means by which the message is disseminated to the public or kept available. Judgment requires intentionality.
Päivi Räsänen’s surprise feedback came from a criminal investigation
The law prohibiting incitement against an ethnic group has recently been one of the most controversial Finnish laws. This was especially influenced by the preliminary investigation launched in autumn 2019 of Päivi Räsänen ( Member of Parliament ) on an old pamphlet writing.
Prosecutor General Toiviainen ordered a preliminary investigation into Räsänen’s writing, published by the Luther Foundation in 2004.
Many did not understand the solution, others were downright angry. For example, former MP James Hirvisaari on Twitter invited “all righteous people to boot Toiviainen from office”.
Toiviainen admits that she has received “perhaps more feedback” in the Räsänen case. Some of the feedback has also been surprising.
– In the past I have had a very effective and constructive criticism. In the course of this debate, it boomed to completely different numbers. But that has not affected my legal consideration in any way.