In Finland, a Win for Free Speech Everywhere
Päivi Räsänen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola stood trial in Helsinki, Finland, on 24 January.
“A Finnish member of parliament has won on all charges in a groundbreaking free speech trial involving a Bible tweet. While far away in Finland for now, the magnitude of this victory promises to have a ripple effect across the world. In a unanimous ruling, announced March 30, 2022, the Helsinki District Court held that “it is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts.” Free speech is a fundamental human right that no government can take away.
The ruling represents a resounding rejection not only of censorious cancel culture, but also of the growing trend of criminalizing speech. Longtime civil servant and former minister of the interior, Dr. Päivi Räsänen, was brought to trial on three criminal charges for sharing her faith-based beliefs, including on Twitter. Finland goes so far as to criminalize any “expression of opinion or another message” deemed to be “threaten[ing], defam[ing]” or even just “insult[ing]” with the penalty of up to two years jail time,” writes Elyssa Koren, Director of UN Advocacy for ADF International.
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