StampNews.com got to know that Finland's parliamentary ombudsman has rejected a series of complaints over the publication of postage stamps bearing homo-erotic imagery by the iconic gay artist Tom of Finland. Complainants had argued that postal operator Itella's tribute to one of Finland's best-known artists infringed common decency with its depictions of clenched buttocks and entwined, mustachioed men.
Seven official complaints were submitted to the ombudsman's office. The majority argued that the commemorative stamps, one of which features a pair of clenched, peach-like buttocks in front of a man's face, infringe "common sexual decency" and therefore should not have been publicly distributed.
However, Deputy Ombudsman Maija Sakslin ruled that the complaints should not be upheld, the office announced on Monday.
In Monday's ruling Sakslin said she considered the issue in relation to the Universal Postal Union, the Finnish constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. She said that the principle of freedom of expression is not confined just to political expression, but also applies to other types of expression regardless of their content.
"Freedom of speech provides a common safeguard for various creative activities and forms of self-expression", Sakslin said.
A further complaint, accusing one of the stamps of violating anti-tobacco laws because it features a leather-clad man smoking a cigarette, was also rejected, on the grounds that the imagery in question is taken from a work of art.