Finland seeks to curb online hate speech: prosecutor

August 9, 2011

Finland's top prosecutor aims to impose clear legal boundaries on hate speech found on the Internet and to provide police with stricter guidelines, his office said Tuesday.

"The goal is to deal with those possibly problematic debates the police encounters" in online blogs and comments, Deputy Attorney General Jorma Kalske told AFP.

He added police encountered a "relatively substantial" amount of online material that could be considered and incitement against certain population or religious groups.

"It is a matter of drawing a line between voicing political opinions, expressing and what is called in colloquial language hate speech, which in criminal law terms is incitement to hostility against a population group," he said.

Kalske noted the anti-immigration discourse from some politicians could be seen as "incitement against a population or ethnic group or religion."

In , hate speech is today punishable with a fine or up to two years in prison, but no one has ever been incarcerated under the country's hate speech legislation.

The Attorney General's office is planning to present a new proposal clearing up what constitutes a hate speech crime in an online context within the next couple of months. It is also considering heavier punishment for serial offenders.

News of the proposal comes on the heels of the deadly twin attacks in Norway on July 22, which sent through Northern Europe.

The of the attacks, Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old Norwegian rightwing extremist, had written in a manifesto posted online before the attacks that he was inspired by different far-right bloggers, including far-right Finnish parliamentarian Jussi Halla-Aho.

Behring Breivik first bombed government offices in Oslo, killing eight people, before going on a shooting rampage on the nearby island of Utoeya where the ruling Labour Party's youth wing was hosting a summer camp, killing another 69, many of them teenagers.

Explore further: Facebook works to remove anti-gay hate speech

Related Stories

Professor says hate speech is akin to obscenity

January 25, 2011

Obscenity isn’t about sex, but rather about degradation, argues a Michigan State University professor who conducted a first-of-its kind study on the relationship between hate speech and obscenity.

European neo-Nazi websites find home in US

May 24, 2011

(AP) -- The website is awash with neo-Nazi symbolism and even sarcastically refers to the notorious Mauthausen concentration camp as Austria's largest open-air museum.

Recommended for you

'Droneboarding' takes off in Latvia

January 22, 2017

Skirted on all sides by snow-clad pine forests, Latvia's remote Lake Ninieris would be the perfect picture of winter tranquility—were it not for the huge drone buzzing like a swarm of angry bees as it zooms above the solid ...

Singapore 2G switchoff highlights digital divide

January 22, 2017

When Singapore pulls the plug on its 2G mobile phone network this year, thousands of people could be stuck without a signal—digital have-nots left behind by the relentless march of technology.

Making AI systems that see the world as humans do

January 19, 2017

A Northwestern University team developed a new computational model that performs at human levels on a standard intelligence test. This work is an important step toward making artificial intelligence systems that see and understand ...

Firms push hydrogen as top green energy source

January 18, 2017

Over a dozen leading European and Asian firms have teamed up to promote the use of hydrogen as a clean fuel and cut the production of harmful gasses that lead to global warming.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 09, 2011

Hate speech is a progressive code word for - Say anything bad about a protected group, even if it is true, and you can go to jail.

Will those that lie about what Jussi Halla-Aho believes be prosecuted? Will I be arrested in Finland for hate speach for stating people should tell the truth about Jussi Halla-Aho?

1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 09, 2011
"The media has got to begin to not give equal time or equal balance to an absolutely absurd notion just because somebody asserts it or simply because somebody says something which everybody knows is not factual.
It doesnt deserve the same credit as a legitimate idea about what you do"
Of course 'legitimate' will be defined by the 'progressives'.
1.2 / 5 (5) Aug 10, 2011
The time to exterminate the Conservative menace starts now.
1 / 5 (5) Aug 10, 2011
Revolutions are starting all over the world.

America's will be particularly violent with Conservative and Libertarian blood being freely spattered onto the cement walls of the nearest buildings.

Viva La Revolution.

2 / 5 (4) Aug 10, 2011
Fortunately, most who support the 2nd amendment are conservatives.
It is the 'progressive' that attempts to use state power to disarm their victims.
3 / 5 (2) Aug 10, 2011
Free speech is only "free" here in the United States. Most other countries have some sort of anti Hate speech clause where if you push to incite violence you can be fined / jailed. This stems from the world wars and fascism. Finally note that Fascism has more in common with the right than the left.

You're all crazy on this forum.

You people are all crazy cooks.

Finally marjon, not all people deserve an equal voice no.
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 10, 2011
Fascism has more in common with the right than the left.

Frenchie, Fascism is socialism.

It is the 'progressive' in the US that promotes speech codes on campus, in the workplace, in public schools, and pushes for 'hate' speech legislation wherever they can.
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 10, 2011
rygg, your right in saying conservatives are for the 2nd ammendment and progressives are against it. The problem is that progressives don't follow the rules they expect conservatives to follow. So if they eliminate the 2nd ammendment, only progressives will have guns.

Interesting to note it is progressives that are rioting not conservatives, yet progressives claim conservatives are the violent ones.

It is progressives that love to use hate speech, then use hate speech laws to silence conservative, while the conservatives who do not use hate speech are the ones that are against hate speech laws.

Progressives incite direct violence yet claim conservatives do, when they don't

2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 10, 2011
"Years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of amoral, uneducated, welfare dependent, brutalised youngsters"
"If you live a normal life of absolute futility, which we can assume most of this weeks rioters do, excitement of any kind is welcome. The people who wrecked swathes of property, burned vehicles and terrorised communities have no moral compass to make them susceptible to guilt or shame.

Most have no jobs to go to or exams they might pass. They know no family role models, for most live in homes in which the father is unemployed, or from which he has decamped."

Read more: http://www.dailym...UfxfhEbE

The movie, A Clockwork Orange comes to mind.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.