The Colombian Constitutional Court has agreed to review the case of a social media star that seeks to overturn a national court ruling that ordered her to take down an online video wherein she expressed her belief in traditional marriage.
“There are high hopes for a positive ruling affirming freedom of speech. The Court’s ruling will affect whether we are allowed to share Christian views on social media,” Christian legal group ADF International, which is supporting the social media star Erika “Kika” Nieto, said in a statement.
The national court had asked Nieto, who has millions of followers, to remove a YouTube video in which she shared her views about marriage being only between a man and a woman, but added that she tolerates other perspectives. An activist had complained about her statement.
In a previous case that arose from the same video, the court has already ruled that Nieto’s speech on marriage is constitutionally protected. However, another activist took Nieto to court, complaining that this same comment about marriage was offensive and discriminatory. This time, a lower court considered the video to contain “hate speech” and thus ordered its removal from YouTube, the legal group explained.
“Everyone has the right to freely share their beliefs in public. I’m glad the Constitutional Court has decided to review my case,” Nieto was quoted as saying after her appeal was admitted.
“I hope they will uphold everyone’s right to speak freely. Nobody should have to be afraid of censorship or criminal sanctions for voicing their deeply held beliefs. By speaking out, I hope to encourage debate and inspire more tolerance of different views,” she added.
Nieto previously said that she wanted to be authentic with her followers without being censored or fearing criminal sanctions just for posting a video. “I don’t want others to be afraid to voice their beliefs. By speaking out, I hope to inspire more tolerance of different opinions.”
Tomás Henríquez, ADF International's director of advocacy for Latin America and the Caribbean, said it’s “a hallmark of a free society that all persons are able to speak freely on what they believe to be right and good, especially on matters of public importance.”
“Nieto’s right to publicly express her views is not only protected by the Colombian Constitution but guaranteed by every major human rights treaty. If we value a free and vibrant society, we must always choose debate over censorship. Ultimately, people and democracy suffer when voices are silenced,” Henríquez added.
A former member of Parliament in Finland, Päivi Räsänen, is also facing criminal investigations after she shared her disapproval with the Lutheran Church participating in an LGBT pride event in 2019.
According to ADF International, the Finnish prosecutor general accused her of “ethnic agitation,” which is punishable by up to two years in prison.
“Freedom of speech is a fundamental right that is coming under increasing fire in today’s ‘cancel culture.’ Both Nieto’s and Räsänen’s cases show that the freedom to share what we believe must be properly protected,” ADF International Deputy Director Robert Clarke said in a previous statement.