Tuesday, May 08, 2007

An Out-of-Control Ombudsman?

So far there is no report on the results of Finnish blogger Mikko Ellilä’s police hearing yesterday.

A Finnish tabloid has published a minor news item about Mr. Ellilä in their paper edition. Vasarahammer sent us his rough translation of the article from today’s Iltasanomat:

Web page caused a police inquiry

Ombudsman for Minorities Mikko Puumalainen has posted an inquiry request to KRP (Central Criminal Police) concerning a web site.

According to the Ombudsman for Minorities, the blog makes some claims about Africans as facts. The website also contains racist and abusive claims and racist thoughts and ideas presented in a textbook fashion.

The event has raised interest in blogs outside Finland.

According to the blogger, the Ombudsman for Minorities wants to criminalize presenting uncomfortable facts about ethnic minorities.

Vasarahammer also includes his analysis of the activities of the Ombudsman, and the chilling effect they are intended to have on politically incorrect speech in Finland:

So the news item is fairly balanced, since it presents both sides of the argument without taking a stand in either direction.

Meanwhile, some facts have come up concerning the activities of Ombudsman for Minorities Puumalainen. In 2006 he made 40 inquiry requests concerning websites.

There was also a court action (not related to websites) earlier this year, in which the editors of Kansan Uutiset (leftist) and Uusimaa (local newspaper) were convicted of inciting ethnic hatred for publishing a letter to the editor that was anti-Semitic and contained hints about exterminating Jews.

Based on comment entries in Mikko Ellilä’s blog, one commenter said that Ombudsman for Minorities had contacted his employer because of blog posts. This blogger (whose name I will not publish) is considerably more moderate in his views than Mikko Ellilä. This blogger also posts under his own name.

The corporate blog of the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (www.hs.fi) celebrating Freedom of Speech day was closed, together with links to the blogs critical of the Ombudsman’s activities.

So far it is not known whether the request for an inquiry leads to an actual investigation and if an investigation leads to a prosecution. I think it is highly likely that an investigation is going to be initiated, though it is wise to wait for Mikko Ellilä’s report (if he chooses to publish it).
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So far, the Ombudsman has been able to operate without great publicity.

The following is speculation:

       The Ombudsman acts based on complaints made to him, initiates a police inquiry, and tries to test the limits of politically incorrect writing through the courts. So he is not acting as a civil servant but he’s politicizing the office he holds. Finland has a strict legalistic tradition in its civil service, and the way Puumalainen operates is not the traditional way.

In addition, it is not known who are the ones behind the complaints, or if the Ombudsman has done everything by himself. It is possible that certain elements from the political left are using the office of the Ombudsman for Minorities to further their political agenda.

End of speculation.

I also think that the Ombudsman’s inquiry request contains a lot of speculation and unwarranted conclusions about the writer, which leads me to believe that the intent was not to initiate an investigation but to scare Mikko Ellilä so that he would remove the article from his blog.

The Ombudsman also asked the police to shut down the site. According to Finnish law this cannot be done without a court order, which makes Ombudsman’s request illegal. Besides, the owner of the site already said that he would not close down the site without an order from an Australian court.

The last paragraph refers to the Australian blogger Prodos, who is the proprietor of Thinker to Thinker. I’ll remind readers of Prodos’ response when Mikko Ellilä urged him not to heed the Ombudsman’s request to take down Mr. Ellilä’s blog:

“I will tell them to F**K OFF.”


Yorkshireminer said...

What really pisses me off is how medieval these ombudsman organizations are, we complain bitterly about the muslims living after a model, propagated by a Bedouin terrorist from the Dark Ages, with a pathological predilection for little girls, but forget that organization like these which have a modern veneer, still resemble that most pernicious organization devised by the medieval Catholic Church, the Inquisition, formed to sniff out Heretics and Witches. This organization formed in Finland and soon to be formed in the E.U. as a whole if the council of Europe gets its way are no different. They are there to root any heretical opinions which contradicts the official dogmas of the Holier than thou E.U. The cabal of Grand Muftis in Brussels have spoken, now conform. While the punishment might not be as terminal as under the Catholic church, the consequences can be just as lethal, destroying innocent and the so called guilty alike. Three years in prison, bankruptcy, police supervision, will destroy families in exactly the same way it did in the middle ages. What these people don't understand is that closing Bloggs is no more than the modern day equivalent of Book Burning. Their intentions might be good, but I was always taught that the road to Hell was always paved with them.