Authors find penal code section prosecuting Kender should be reworded
Members of the Estonian Writers’ Union (EKL) issued a public statement in which they found that the wording of the section of the Penal Code on the production of child pornography, which led to the prosecution of author Kaur Kender, should be changed.
"Legislators should consider changing the wording of the section which allowed for criminal proceedings to be brought against [Kender] based on ‘Untitled 12’ in such a way that it would not limit artistic freedom and freedom of speech but would still prevent true crimes with sufficient certainty," read the statement.
According to union members, both undeniable successes and unfortunate mistakes can come up along writers’ creative paths. "The question is whether we, 25 years after the demise of Soviet Estonia, truly want for anyone but the public to judge the quality of literature," they found.
The writers acknowledged that Kender’s text, albeit troubling, was a cultural fact, that art was not always meant to be liked and that cultural disgust was a strong enough regulatory mechanism, making the state’s repressive support unnecessary.
"We stand not only for writers’ freedom of expression but also the freedom of speech of all people as well as the Estonian Constitution," explained the statement. "The core of the problem lies not within one court case or expert assessment but rather within the core values of society and the precision of the laws [involved] in their expression and defense."
The public statement was signed by EKL members Sveta Grigorjeva, Peeter Helme, Sass Henno, Maarja Kangro, Indrek Koff, Jüri Kolk, Mihkel Kunnus, Siim Nurklik, Meelis Oidsalu, Jaan Pehk, Paavo Piik, Kajar Pruul, Toomas Raudam, Jürgen Rooste, Aarne Ruben, Olavi Ruitlane, Ivar Sild, Triin Tasuja, Mait Vaik, Siim Veskimees, Elo Viiding, Heiki Vilep and Märt Väljataga.