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More online police possible in fight against hate speech

Interior Minister Paula Risikko says that Finland could soon get more online police officers as the country looks to clamp down on hate speech. She says there's room for the police to tighten their approach.

Paula Risikko.
Interior Minister Paula Risikko Image: Jarno Kuusinen / AOP

Finland's Interior Minister wants the police to be more proactive in taking on hate speech online. Paula Risikko says that police leaders should consider new ways of working to uncover, investigate and prevent extremist groups operating online.

In addition, she says that the Justice and Interior Ministries should jointly consider if legislative changes are needed.

"Under the current legislation it seems difficult to investigate the background and motives of figures involved in hate speech, and to intervene," said Risikko in a statement. "The legislation is also fragmented."

On Friday Helsinki-based police officer Jarmo Heinonen, who works with online offences, told Yle that the law needs to be clarified. At present it does not define clearly what constitutes hate speech and what does not.

Risikko also said that she would 'take another look' at the resources devoted to online policing. The National Police Board has said that it will report in the next few weeks on how many extra people it feels are necessary.

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