You’re free in Sweden to be critical of immigration, those in power, or people identifying as “LBGT” — at least within the confines of your mind. But dare express those views, even on the Internet, and you can now be more easily prosecuted under a new law taking full effect after Christmas.
We recently learned about how anti-immigration Internet commenters in Sweden were tracked down and persecuted. As journalist Pamela Geller wrote:
One of Sweden’s biggest newspapers, Expressen, used criminal hackers to break into Disqus and get the email addresses and identities of commenters online, and to reveal the persons behind the nicknames or anonymous user IDs. The newspaper sent a reporter and a cameraman to one person’s home and asked them about things they had written on different websites. Expressen published the names and photos of some people, which led to at least one person losing his job.
But Sweden’s new law adds another layer of hate-speech prohibition to the social ostracism. As Fria Tider (Free Times) reported (translated electronically from Swedish and then edited for grammar and word usage) in a piece entitled “New Law Makes it Easier to Prosecute Those Who Offend Immigrants or Those in Power,” “The crime of ‘insult’ will be prosecuted — but only for giving offense to immigrants, LGBTQ persons or authorities ... [under a] common insult to the public prosecution.” The law has been pushed by Swedish parliamentarian Andreas Norlén, who said, during what Fria Tider described as “an unchallenged debate on the issue in parliament,” “I do not think it takes very many prosecutions before a signal is transmitted in the community that the Internet is not a lawless country — the sheriff is back in town.”
Read the rest here.