Thursday, October 16, 2008

Convicted for Racism

I’ve said many times that Denmark is a country which practices true freedom of speech. However, this latest news makes me wonder if I was a bit hasty in my judgment.

The woman mentioned in the article below was convicted for making derogatory remarks about members of another race on her own personal web page. Unfortunately for her, the Public Guardians of Political Correctness found out about it, and she was charged and convicted.

According to Politiken:

Denmark: Cop Sentenced for Racism

A 33-year-old woman police officer has been found guilty of racism after publishing derogatory remarks on her personal home page on the internet. The woman immediately appealed the verdict and sentence of a DKK 4,000 fine.

In her explanation to the court, she said she had been tired of having her weekends off suspended and being unable to take her planned mountain bike tours. As a result she let her frustrations run away with her on her personal home page.
- - - - - - - - -
Anonymity

It was in February this year that groups of youths of immigrant origin set light to vehicles, garbage containers and educational establishments across the country.

The PC told the court that she did not think that items on her web page could be found unless the precise URL of her domain was known. As a result, she said, she did not believe that anyone would see what she had written.

It often seems that Denmark has more freedom of speech than we do here in the USA, but it’s now evident that the country does possess the constitutional and legal mechanisms necessary to crack down on PC heterodoxy.

In America, the same kind of prosecution would have trouble gaining traction because of the First Amendment. That may change after The One takes office and applies the standards used in campus speech codes to the country at large. But for the time being, legal action for such an opinion is unlikely here.

What happens in this country is usually more a form of self-censorship, a milder version of the Swedish model. Ostracism, public censure, and social pressure are brought to bear on anyone who violates the Multicultural norms of expression, so that political incorrectness is mostly absent from the mainstream. That’s why almost none of our newspapers published the Motoons.

But to see the State clamping down on a forthright Dane for airing her opinion — that’s discouraging.


Hat tip: TB.

11 comments:

blogagog said...

"It often seems that Denmark has more freedom of speech than we do here in the USA..."

I don't understand this statement. The only thing I know of that we can't say in the US is 'Hey everyone, lets go murder so-and-so.' What makes you think anyone on the planet has more freedom of speech than Americans?

Baron Bodissey said...

blogagog --

Because the free-for-all of opinion in the Danish media far exceeds anything we have here in the USA. Denmark's press, unlike ours, can be quite politically incorrect. The publication of the Motoons would have been unthinkable in a major American newspaper.

That's why I'm so disappointed by this news report -- it seems free speech in Denmark is not entirely protected by law.

costin said...

oh no, not Denmark...

Henrik R Clausen said...

Yes, it's problematic. That particular paragraph has been used against Pia Kjærsgaard, Morten Messerschmidt and other fine people. They even tweaked it to make it broader, for otherwise only Nazi-style blockheads could be convicted under it.

I hope we can get rid of it. But our EU-poisoned government is not likely to go on the offensive about that problem.

anti-uffe said...

The legal paragraph in question is only very rarely enforced here in Denmark. There are some peculiar circumstances surrounding this case, as it appears that nobody has made a complaint. Although I have no information supporting this claim, it might indicate that either somebody from, say, AFA circles had been conducting their own research, and then tipped the police anonymously, or that she was made a case of by Danish intelligence PET.

She doesn't appear to have been blogging under her own name or to have stated that she was police (which might have justified slapping her wrist) which makes the case slightly alarming. They usually don't go after citizens posting something in their free time, but here work and private life may have been connected with the indictment.

Should this be the beginning of a new trend with Danish authorities, the obvious response would be posting similar defamatory quotes made by Muslim immigrants - they exist in droves. This would force them to either prosecute them as well, or admit that this was about putting native Danes in their place.

Henrik R Clausen said...

AFA taking the opportunity to harass the police sounds plausible. That is a menace, for it undermines public confidence in the police at a time where we need it most.

We had quite a few of these cases (a lot, actually) from AFA/Antifa people. Not only does it taint the police, it also makes the police leadership worried, and they seem not to stand up for their people on the ground when needed.

As far as I know, this is much worse in Britain.

watling said...

Henrik R Clausen:

As far as I know, this is much worse in Britain.

Possibly. This UK policeman was forced to resign after being spotted wearing a BNP badge while off duty. Who spotted him?

Meanwhile, this BNP supporter was fined and had his livelihood taken away for offending Muslim postal workers by putting anti-Islamic stickers on parcels he sent through the post.

He was found guilty of committing racially/religiously aggravated harrassment. Yet Islam is not a race and a religion is just a bunch of ideas in someone's head. I guess that means that it is now unlawful to criticise someone else's ideas in the UK.

Also, I didn't realise Muslims had the right not to be offended. A politically motivated conviction, perhaps?

The BNP is a legal political party. If the state finds the BNP so offensive then it should come out and openly ban it. Then we'll all know where we stand - i.e. being anti-multiculturalist and anti-PC is against the law.

laller said...

As Henrik pointed out, the paragraph in question was "tweaked" some years ago. Prior to the "tweak" it was only illegal to make false claims against a group based on their ethnicity race or religion(I think that's how it was back then). BUT the (official) reason it was tweaked was for it to be in line with the UN convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.Sadly we didn't make any yseful reservations at the time, like the US did, so we have to follow it to the letter.

Per said...

Baron, Denmark has a mixed record on free speech.
On the one
hand, the legal framework on free speech is very different from that permitted by the First Amendment.
The applicable statutory provision is Criminal Code S. 266 B.
"3.3. Section 266 b of the Danish Criminal Code
Under section 266 b(1) of the Danish Criminal Code any person who, publicly or with the intention of
wider dissemination, makes a statement or imparts other information by which a group of people are
threatened, scorned or degraded on account of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, or
sexual inclination shall be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding two years.
Like section 140 of the Danish Criminal Code, section 266 b should be subject to a narrow
interpretation out of regard for the right to freedom of expression.
The object of protection in section 266 b of the Danish Criminal Code is a group of people –
belonging to a majority or a minority – who are scorned or degraded e.g. on account of their religion –
contrary to section 140 of the Danish Criminal Code where the object of protection is the religious
feelings connected with religions doctrines and acts of worship.
The fact that in the opinion of the Director of Public Prosecutions there is no violation of section 140
of the Danish Criminal Code does not rule out that section 266 b of the Danish Criminal Code may be
violated."

Source:
THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
File No. RA-2006-41-0151
15 March 2006
Decision
on
Possible criminal proceedings in the case of Jyllands-Posten's Article "The Face of Muhammed"
URL:
http://www.rigsadvokaten.dk/ref.aspx?id=890 (PDF)

Under S. 266 B speech is forbidden provided that it is threatening, scornful or degrading of a group of persons on a discriminatory ground. It is of no dispositive import whether the speech is a statement of fact, a value judgment or a mixed statement of fact and opinion.
In 1939 Parliament enacted the precursor to S.266 B, which made it unlawful to incite hatred against any group of citizens on account of faith by spreading false accusations. However, in 1969 an Advisory committee under the Ministry of Justice recommended a codification of S.266B removing the requirement of falsity from the statutory prohibition.
The recommendation was made in light of Denmark's ratification of two UN conventions obligating the contracting states to mmake hate speech unlawful. The UN drafting Committee had expressly sought to extend the category of proscribable hate speech beyond provable falsehood. Acting on the recommendation from the Advisory Committee, Parliament passed a reworded version of S.266B extending the prohibition to even truthful speech.
The provision has not been applied very often, but the touchstone for criminality is not whether what you say is true or false. Simply calling for expulsion of certain ethnic groups by peaceful petition to Parliament may hence be unlawful.
For a more detailed review of the Danish legislation, refer to Lene Johannesen's article in Striking A Balance: Hate speech, freedom of expression and non-discrimination published by ARTICLE 19 available at:

http://www.article19.org/publications/global-issues/hate-speech.html

On the other hand, although the legal framework is not different from that applicable in other European countries with similar laws, the prevailing social climate is more hospital to free speech thanSwedish public opinion. Yet, listening to Danish politicians positions on free speech is misleading, since none of them are in favor of any liberal speech regime.
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's government has opposed all motions by the Danish People Party (DPP) to abolish the related Criminal Code provision S.140 on blasphemy. Only the DPP has a reasonable record on free speech.
Regarding the case of the police women, it's important to note that her criminal conviction was not on account of her public employment. A public employer might well be within its power to discharge law enforcement personel for public expression of racial or religious animosity.
Not even the First Amendment would shield a police officer from employment consequences for making derogatory remarks. However, the conviction of the police women was obtained under a generally applicable statute susceptible of the same application to any ordinary citizen.

Anonymous said...

A British blog I sometimes read has referred Trevor Phillips (a black Honduran who acts as the lavishly paid "anti-racism czar" in Britain) the "Witchfinder General." If you know anything about Phillips and the vast organization of baying race baiters that he runs, you know how grimly appropriate the moniker. I propse that we start calling these people what they are -- witchfinders. And their targets are not "racists" -- but "witches." As in, "A Danish police officer was convicted of practicing witchcraft today by the Witchfinder General." The only thing that works with these sanctimonious idiots is shoving their grotesque hypocrisies and double standards in their faces as directly as possible. So, Trevor Phillips, Witchfinder General of Great Britain, etc.

Anonymous said...

While there's no doubt our European brethren are further down this despicable road, don't think it isn't happening here...

http://freedomfolks.com/blog/?p=2256