Back in November I happened to hear about the scandalous events surrounding the elementary school of Korivaara; apparently, the children in the school were being terrorized by a deeply religious headmaster and his fellow teachers (summarized in English by The Butt Ugly Weblog).I’ve recorded some of the news covering the issue by Kaleva.plus; so far Finnish only, sorry. I was amazed by not only such events being possible in modern-day Finland, but by the fact that the whole issue seemed to cause nothing more than a few headlines and some shaking of heads in disbelief. #
I witnessed headmaster Pöyry himself dismiss all charges against him, appealing – in a manner which to me could not have been more disgusting – to the fact that the children had ”repeatedly given him good feedback”.The same repulsive theme of the children ”proving” Pöyry’s innocence came up again after the biggest stir had passed. (That’s what children go to school for, to give their teachers grades, right?) #
The children’s parents, who came forward with their worries about what’s going on in their school, have reported the children as being frightened for themselves and their loved ones (for the chance of going to Hell, IIRC) and having prayed compulsively as their means of trying to make it better. This to me spelled the children had been severely brainwashed and manipulated, thus making any references to their ”liking” their headmaster nothing more than expressions of deeply rooted fear of criticizing his authority. #
And nothing happened. The issue was bounced around by authorities, until the report by an independent psychologist, proving the children suffer from anxiety and fear, was dismissed by the state provincial office of Oulu, and Pöyry along with the rest of the school personnel was basically cleared of almost any wrongdoing. #
But my peak of tolerance had already been reached. I had posted my rough idea of what I think of Pöyry and his ”methods of upbringing” onto my blog, not once but many times. I’d said it straight as well as indirectly. #
Then yesterday, I got an e-mail from a police officer of the city of Oulu police, informing of me of an inquiry for defamation of character, requested by Pöyry. In addition to telling me the local (Jyväskylä) police would interrogate me about this, there was a demand for the material regarding Pöyry to be removed from my site. There was no reason (or a law) given for this, neither was there any mentioning of a court order having been issued (and I haven’t been delivered one), which to my understanding is required in Finland for the police to be able to tell me to do this. #
So I asked the policeman for the reasons, as well as the specific parts of my site he was referring to (since I had written about the issue several times). Today he replied, referring to a law which covers .fi-domains. As you can see, mine is .net. And even if it was .fi, as far as I can tell, the law in question doesn’t entitle the police to order me to censor my words. #
This time he did single out the specific texts I had to remove, so I did that, since I guess it’s not a valid reason not to do what the police tell you to, even if their reasons for telling you to do so seem to be full of shit. Whether they are, that’s for a higher authority to decide, and that’s exactly what Tuomas Kilpi, the editor of another Finnish blog and a computer magazine asked them to do (for which I’m very grateful to him). As for me, I’ve requested Electronic Frontier Finland for their comments on this. #
I’ve not yet been to a hearing, but am expecting to, since the officer in question did phone me after I had informed him of having done the removals he’d asked me (he’d found another copy – from his browser’s cache), and thus verified himself as being for real (even though the headers and everything seemed to be valid, with e-mail you never know) and having informed the local police about the matter. #
25.2. 11:25 Fixed a typo.
21.5. 2007 22:17 Removed dead links to Enter magazine blog and Kaleva.plus. Modernized the style and techniques used. Removed quotation marks from around the title.