The Government decided that expressions of hate ought to be punished regardless the means through which they were publicised.
Until now, hate speeches were punishable only if written in a newspaper, on public transport and in public spaces. Those published on personal blogs or Facebook, for example, could not.
Minister of Justice Grete has now presented a proposed legislative amendment designed to alter the definition of public and official act of the Penal Code from 1902.
This move comes following a Supreme Court ruling that anti-feminist extremist blogger Eivind Berge cannot be punished for inciting the murder of police officers. Judges ruled the Internet was not part of the public space.
“It’s an excellent suggestion. Nevertheless, there are probably some ways it easily be circumvented, for example if the site is password protected,” University of Oslo professor Jon Bing told Dagsavisen.
Eivind Berge was arrested in early July and subsequently acquitted last month after calling for the deaths of police. Officers reportedly found ammunition and books on explosives when they apprehended him.
The prosecution had asked that 34-year-old Mr Berge spend four weeks in prison, with the first of these spent in isolation.
Rudolf Christoffersen alleged at the time that that Berge spent weeks glorifying police killings.
“There has been a change in what he writes. We are uncertain how many supporters he has and whether there are others involved, and whether they are direct plans to carry out police killings,” Mr Christoffersen told NRK.
Mr Berge claimed that the ammunition is old and the books on explosives were from his time in the military and denied his guilt.
The blogger has refused to delete his comments and could still be indicted under the amendment if passed, even though laws cannot be applied retroactively, though.
Hordaland district police prosecutor Trond Høvik said to NTB following Mr Berge’s release that “I would think that it would be a criminal offense after the changes are included in the Penal Code should he actively maintains calls for criminal acts on a blog he has complete control over.”
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