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Parliament takes no action over MP's "threatening" tweet

Ano Turtiainen submitted a formal reply to a parliamentary request stating that there was no threat.

Ano Turtiainen eduskunnan täysistunnossa.
File photo of MP Ano Turtiainen, who has formed his own one-man parliamentary group since being expelled from the Finns Party's parliamentary group last year. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

Parliament has decided not to take any action over a tweet by MP Ano Turtiainen last Saturday, in which he appeared to send a thinly-disguised threat to MPs in favour of a mask mandate.

Turtiainen has formed his own one-man parliamentary party since being expelled from the Finns Party's parliamentary group last year.

A large number of MPs from different parties met on Friday to discuss the issue, including the speakers of Parliament, the committee chairs, and the chairs of each parties' parliamentary group, where it was decided that Turtiainen would not be reprimanded for the tweet.

"It was our unanimous view," Speaker of Parliament Anu Vehviläinen (Cen) said after the meeting.

Although MPs are required to speak respectfully during parliamentary speeches, Parliament cannot interfere in other forms of communication, such as blog posts or tweets.

"It is not for Parliament to intervene in the statements made elsewhere by a Member of Parliament," Vehviläinen stated, adding that this does not, however, remove personal responsibility from the communication.

"Speaking and writing are the most important tools for a Member of Parliament," she said.

Turtiainen's response calmed situation

Vehviläinen further said that the parliamentary groups also discussed the limits on freedom of speech within the communications environment of the 2020s.

"The unanimous message from the meeting was that we do not accept any kind of aggressive rhetoric or intimidation, or even overt or covert intimidation," Vehviläinen said.

Some politicians had interpreted Turtiainen's tweet as putting pressure on MPs in favour of introducing a compulsory order on the wearing of face masks.

On Tuesday, the speakers of Parliament group discussed Turtiainen's tweet and stated that it took the matter very seriously. Following that meeting, Turtiainen submitted a written response to a parliamentary request, in which he stated that there was no threat or danger to MPs in any way.

Vehviläinen added that she thanked Turtiainen for the reply.

"I welcome the fact that Turtiainen pointed out in his own defence that there is no threat to other representatives in any way. I met him a moment ago in the hallway and stated it to him," Vehviläinen said.

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