Sunday, May 26, 2013

Lex Berge is in effect

As a direct result of the embarrassing failure of the Norwegian police to prosecute me for statements on this blog (all of which can still be found here), politicians promptly set in motion a process to change the law. And now on May 24th, 2013, the new law went into effect.

In hopes of having better luck prosecuting MRAs and other outspoken undesirables in the future, the government has changed the legal definition of "public" in such a way as to include the Internet. Not just anything on the Internet, but statements communicated to at least something like 20-30 people, as explained at length here. So private email is still not public, but blogs and forums are. Specifically, this was accomplished by changing section 7 of the old Penal Code of 1902 into this:
§ 7. Med offentlig sted menes et sted bestemt for alminnelig ferdsel eller et sted der allmennheten ferdes.

En handling er offentlig når den er foretatt i nærvær av et større antall personer, eller når den lett kunne iakttas og er iakttatt fra et offentlig sted. Består handlingen i fremsettelse av en ytring, er den også offentlig når ytringen er fremsatt på en måte som gjør den egnet til å nå et større antall personer.

Endret ved lov 24 mai 2013 nr. 18.
While defining the Internet as public is not problematic in and of itself because that merely reflects the truth, given the laws it in turn affects, this legal reform is sadly a setback for freedom of speech in Norway. Changing the legal definition of "public" acts and utterances has implications for several more criminal laws, so I dare say I have had quite a significant impact on our penal code. In my case though, it means §140, the law on incitement according to which I was charged, could theoretically have been applicable. §140 applies to incitatory public speech, and now statements made on the Internet can qualify.

However, contrary to popular belief and tabloid portrayals this doesn't necessarily mean they can convict you just for advocating cop-killing like I did. The incitement law specifies the advocacy of initiation ("iverksettelse") of a crime, and I don't believe anything I have said on this blog would qualify as such. Did I tell anybody to go out and kill cops? No, I said killing cops is the right thing to do for MRAs as activism against misandric sex laws. I said cop-killing is in complete harmony with everything I stand for. There are weighty reasons for why this law is not meant to criminalize this sort of speech, according to precedent and legal scholarship. Statements about the morality, utility and desirability of revolutionary acts are meant to be exempt, or else a whole lot of leftists and feminists also ought to be prosecuted. So even if I had not been liberated by the Supreme Court on the technicality that the Internet is not public, it is dubious whether the cops would have been able to convict me anyway in a jury trial. And let us not forget that glorifying crime, which I was also wrongfully charged with, is and remains legal as I have emphasized before. We are free to celebrate publicly when acts of violent activism befall our rulers and their enforcers, and we are free to make moral pronouncements about such acts and state that we support them. What is new is merely the criminalization of incitement on the Internet to initiate specific criminal acts, but I never engaged in that anyway.