For those of you gentle readers who have long believed that scandinavian countries (specifically Sweden) are models of liberty and freedom to be emulated by other societies, think again. Freedom of speech does NOT exist in Sweden.
On Wednesday 13 June 2007 Dahn Petterson was convicted and fined the equivalent of $3000.00 for "Agitation against an ethnic minority" . Mr Petterson who is a member of the "kommunstyrelsen" (County Commission) of Burlöv, Skåne in Sweden was attempting to solicit governmental aid for the homeless population of the town. In justifying the request for aid he pointed out that most of the homeless people were ethnic Albanian immigrants from the Kosovo region who were suffering from a high incidence of drug addiction and that the bulk of heroin and other drugs were entering Sweden from Afghanistan via Albania and Kosovo. These are facts frequently reported in Swedish newspapers. Nevertheless as in other authoritarian countries, stating verifiable but politically incorrect facts can land one afoul of the authorities.
Sweden not only has enacted "hate crime" legislation but has included "hate speech" in it as well. Although Mr. Petterson had no intention of disparaging anyone, he has been convicted of what amounts to "hate speech".
If you think such legislation is an affront to our traditional ideas of liberty in the U.S. I must inform you that not only has hate crime legislation been enacted in one form or another in 49 states, (the sole exception being Wyoming) a federal bill, H.R. 1592 introduced by John Conyers (D MI) passed in the House of Representatives on 3 May 2007. The proposed law federalizes "hate crimes" and broadens their scope to include more protected classes. You would be well advised to avoid "insulting" any member of (fill in the blank) a protected group. Go ahead! Define "insult".
cross posted at: Eternity Road
15 June 2007 22:30 Hrs. UPDATE:
“When a member of the council asked the police whether Dahn Pettersson’s claims were true, he was told simply that the claims constituted Agitation Against a National or Ethnic Group. The law is becoming a hindrance for providing information about actual situations. Questions which have their basis in disparagement of a particular group cannot be answered [by the stating of facts].