By Enrique Tessieri
It is a positive sign that more politicians and organizations like the Council for Mass Media (JSN) are finally taking a strong stance against hate speech and racism that is rife on the net. These types of opinions, usually done anonymously and on sites like Hommaforum, Scripta and others, resemble racist peeping Toms writing graffiti on public toilet walls.
Some guidelines have to be put in place but the question is if they will bite. The JSN will make public its new recommendations on September 5.
“Hate speech was included in the guidelines, ” said JSN chairperson Risto Uimonen. “It would have been odd after what happened in Norway if we would not have done so.”
For too long the Finnish media, too many politicians and the public at large have shown a remarkable lack of leadership with respect to the rising hate speech and popularity of parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS). It seems that the majority of our best leaders and most enlightened citizens are ready to forfeit our values for hate speech.
Why have politicians reacted so late? Have they become more tolerant to immigrants or does it only hinge on Norway and how mass killer Anders Breivik was a serious wakeup call?
Migrant Tales predicted after the tragic events that gripped Norway at the hands of a mass killer on July 22 that a major watershed was crossed. The new JSN guidelines and less tolerance for hate speech have put parties like the PS on the defensive. The Norwegian Labor Party, for example, is expected to make big gains in next month’s the municipal election at the cost of the anti-immigration Fremskrittspartiet, of which Anders Breivik was a member.
A social ill like racism is no light matter. If it were up to the likes of PS MP Halla-aho and his cronies, immigrants would suffer the same exclusion that the Romany have endured in Finland for hundreds of years.
We cannot let something like that to happen ever again.
The sooner Finns can distinguish between racism and constructive criticism on issues like immigration policy, the faster we will be able to put this social ill on the defensive.