Censorship

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Censorship
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Finland 🇫🇮 is a Northern European country which mostly practices Lutheran Christianity. It is part of the European Union.

General censorship[]

During the Cold War, there was the concept of Finlandization, Which meant that some media were banned or self-censored in Finland on purely political grounds (in this case, to appease the Soviet Union, which had influence on the Nordic country at the time).

Book censorship[]

  • Contrary to popular belief, Donald Duck's comics (known in Finland as Aku Ankka) were not banned because the titular character did not wear any pants as well for being with Daisy Duck for 50 years without being married. This urban legend stemmed from a late 1977 political incident, when the Finnish capital Helsinki was in a finantial struggle with limited monetary resources. Then, during a meeting of the city's Board of Youth Affairs, Helsinki councilman and representative of the Finnish Liberal Party Markku Holopainen proposed to discontinue the city funds used for the subscriptions to Aku Ankka comics for youth centres in favor of nature and sports publications (which the board approved). However, a year later, when Holopainen ran for Parliament, his opponent construed this as Holopainen trying to "ban Donald Duck from Helsinki", which was leaked to the press. Some Finns wrote letters to the Aku Ankka magazine on the subject decades earlier, but the magazine put it to rest by publishing a picture of a ridiculous-looking duck with pants and Few years earlier, in January 1975, a similar incident happened when the Kemi City Government decided by 5-5 votes (the chairman's vote was the decisive vot) that Aku Ankka would not be ordered by the Kemi Educational Counselor, due to being "too-Western".

Film censorship[]

Finland had a censorship comparable to Sweden and Norway, which forbade movies featuring an excessive amount of bloodshed, brutality, and martial arts. The films are regulated by the Finnish Board of Film Classification (Valtion elokuvatarkastamo).

  • Freaks, Faces of Death, and Cannibal Holocaust were all banned on initial release.
  • Cry Uncle!- This Troma film was banned in Finland for a year following its release due to a scene in which the antihero has sex with a corpse.
  • Savage Man, Savage Beast - This 1976 mondo film was banned immediately in its entirety for passing off staged scenes as images of genuine human death.
  • Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma - This film was banned in 1976 for moral, mental health and appropriateness reasons. The banning renewed again in 1984 with the defined exception of two specific screenings by the Finnish Film Archive. Finally a law change in 2001 removed the ban.
  • Cruising - This film was banned on its initial release
  • Red Dawn and The Manchurian Candidate were banned for "political reasons".
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - this film was banned
  • One, Two, Three - this James Cagney film was banned for 24 years due to its political satire, which could offend their ally and neighbouring country, the Soviet Union. (Finland back then had a policy of Finlandization).
  • The Devils - This film was banned on its initial release in 1971 for violence and content which could potentially be hazardous to mental health. The decision to ban was ultimately taken to highest available court which did not lift the ban. A second round of banning was then seen in 1985 and the government officials used the same exact phrasing in their decision to ban as was done 14 years earlier. The ban was finally automatically lifted after a law change in 2001.
  • Dirty Harry - This film was banned on February 1972 for violence and mental health reasons. The distributor challenged the banning and took the decision to ban to Finnish Supreme administrative Court which ruled against banning. After minor cuts, it was banned again. A second round of court cases (again, won by the distributor) forced the banning authorities to allow the film to be distributed. They did so but only after mandatory cuts of over three minutes. Finally in January 1973 the cut film premiered in Finland.
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - this film was banned because of graphic violence.
  • Born American - This Renny Harlin film was banned on January 1986 for its violence and for political reasons which were that the movie was "potentially harmful to international relations". A court appeal to Finnish Supreme administrative Court decided against the banning (after some cuts would be made) and authorities were forced to dismantle the ban (with more cuts) and the movie premiered in late Dec-1986 after a struggle of almost a year. 20 years after the movie was banned, it was revealed (by a politics researcher and academic Juhani Suomi in his book "Kohti sinipunaa") that the authorities were in fact "instructed" to ban the film and that the banning was dictated by the Soviet Union's ambassador Vladimir Sobolev. Born American was the last movie in Finland to suffer banning for political reasons.
  • The House on the Edge of the Park - This film was banned for violence in 1986; it took six years after the film's release for any distributor to even try to get a classification. A law change in 2001 finally lifted the ban.

Internet censorship[]

  • In 2006, a new copyright law known as Lex Karpela set some restrictions on publishing information regarding copy protection schemes.
  • In that same year, the government started Internet censorship by delivering Finnish ISPs a secret blocking list maintained by Finnish police. Implementation of the block was voluntary, but some ISPs implemented it. The list was supposed to contain only sites with child pornography, but ended up also blocking, among others, the site lapsiporno.info that criticized the move towards censorship and listed sites that were noticed to have been blocked. After a “voluntary law”  enacted by Finnish parliament on 1 January 2007, most of the Finland’s major Internet service providers decided on 22 November 2006 to begin filtering child pornography, and ISPs first started filtering in January 2008. The Ministry of Communications has commented that filtering is voluntary for ISPs as long as they do not refuse. The blacklist is provided by Finnish police and should contain only foreign sites. Technically filtering was planned to be URI based, like the United Kingdom’s Cleanfeed, but so far implementations have been DNS based.
  • Most of these censored Internet sites, however, do not actually seem to be censored by the Finnish ISPs due to actual child pornography, but due to “normal” adult pornography instead. Most of the known sites are also located in EU or United States where child pornography is strictly illegal anyway. Two-thirds of the Finnish Internet censorship list of the filtered domains were collected on lapsiporno.info, the homepage of Matti Nikki, a Finnish activist criticizing Internet censorship in the European Union and especially in Finland. On 12 February 2008, Nikki’s page was also added to the National Bureau of Investigation’s blacklist (Wikinews article). As the list was compiled using links from pornography sites, this list does not tell anything about the last third of the blocked sites.
  • On September 2008, problems with accuracy continued, when the website of the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web W3C was briefly blacklisted as childporn by mistake. In that same year, a government-sponsored report considered establishing similar filtering in order to curb online gambling. After investigation of complaints about how the law on filtering child pornography has been implemented and the actions of the police, the vice Parliamentary Ombudsman concluded on 29 May 2009 that the police had followed the law and that most sites on the list did have material that could be classified as child pornography at the time they were investigated by the police. He also found that the law is somewhat unclear and that its effect on free speech is problematic and recommends these matters be considered when the law is overseen.
  • As of 2012, internet service providers Elisa, Sonera (now Telia) and DNA were ordered by Finnish courts to block traffic to The Pirate Bay and put Internet filters on the specific website.

Television censorship[]

  • The Moomins (1990) - During the intial run of this anime based on Tove Jansson's children books on YLE, three of the 104 episodes were not broadcasted in Finland. Said episodes were The Pirate, which was banned due to the titular pirate threatening Snork Maiden with a knife, the Police Inspector swearing after losing his patience and the scene where Moomintroll feigns being poisoned, The Imp, banned due to religious concerns over the demon trapped inside the tree, as Finnish viewers would be much more familiar with the demons from Christianity rather than the demons from Japanese folklore, as well as the ending warning that the demon's tree might still be floating out there and The Birthday Surprise, which was banned due to Little My's nightmare sequence, where she's transformed into a Stinky-like creature and the Moomin family, Snork Maiden and Sniff are laughing at her, which was seen as too scary, mean-spirited and non-Moominlike. These Three episodes gained a cult following due to their banned nature, and while these have never been aired on Finnish television, these finally were released on home video in 2017 after the broadcasting rights were switched over from YLE to MTV3 (Finland's main commercial TV channel), which produced its own dub for the series.
  • The Loud House - The "Last Loud on Earth" episode is banned due to its horror and zombie themes.

Video game censorship[]

External links[]

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