A think tank linked to the opposition Finns Party has appealed a decision made by the education and culture ministry which demanded the return of 10,000 euros of the group's funding over its publication of a misogynist book, according to the party's mouthpiece, Suomen Uutiset.
In June the think tank published a 420-page book by Jukka Hankamäki entitled Totuus kiihottaa (roughly The Truth Provokes), billed as "a philosophical study of the information and truth crisis of the left-wing populist mainstream media".
In a section on "the tyranny of women", Hankamäki claimed that some Finnish women rejected by Finnish men "sought revenge on Finnish society by mating with foreigners". Hankamäki is a philosopher, social psychologist and failed Finns Party parliamentary candidate.
Not long after that, the ministry declared the group had violated the rules on grants by paying the sum to the author. A stipulation of the state support funds is that they must be used to advance equality.
The ministry said the publication repeatedly violated both the Act on Equality between Women and Men of 1986 and the Non-discrimination Act of 2014.
"No legal basis"
However, now the think tank's operations manager, Marko Hamilo, was quoted by Suomen Uutiset saying that the ministry does not have sufficient grounds to claw back the support, precisely because it cited equality laws.
"These laws apply to conditions in, for example, places of work and study. The prohibition of discrimination and harassment applies to behaviour [between parties] in contractual relations, not opinions. The ministry has considered it discriminatory to express an opinion. There is no legal basis for that," Hamilo said.
Hamilo added that the ministry also justified its decision by saying the think tank did not attempt to prevent or correct the publication, which he claims is untrue.
"The think tank immediately took action when it became aware of the problems with the publication. It was immediately withdrawn," he said.
The party’s leadership has distanced itself from the publication by the foundation.