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Iceland update: Media freedom bill advances

Iceland’s proposal to become a free speech haven has just passed its first discussion in parliament, unopposed. The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative instructs the government to draft and enact a collection of laws relating to press freedom, source protection, immunity for carriers such as ISPs, and provisions against libel tourism.

While local legislation cannot provide complete protection for journalistic organizations even if their servers are located in Iceland, local assets and records could be immune to foreign judgements. In any case, the initiative is intended to create the strongest combination of  journalism and whistleblower protection laws in the world. The proposal now moves to committee, after which there will be a second discussion and a final binding vote, according to Smári McCarthy of the Icelandic Digital Freedom Society, who was involved in drafting the initiative. That could happen as soon as a week from now, but more likely several weeks.

Member of Parliament and proposal sponsor Birgitta Jónsdóttir has promised that “all of my effort will be to get it out of committee.” The full text of the proposal is available here, and the machine translation into English is fairly readable.

Photo of Iceland by Trey Ratcliff used under a Creative Commons license.

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  • chris

    This image doesn’t seem to fit the story at all and is inappropriately over-processed.

  • diablomarcus


  • Jonathan Stray

    Everyone’s a critic. But I’ll have you know that church is full of servers.

  • Joshua Benton

    Chris, I’m very sorry you don’t enjoy HDR photography. I thought it was pretty. Feel free to insert your own media metaphors into the picture if that will help you enjoy the photo more.

  • Haraldur Helgi

    Nice article and pretty exciting times ahead here in Iceland…

    And no, this church is not full of servers.. ;)

  • Case Ernsting

    Thanks for the update Jonathon. Its hard to get the real scoop on this story due to language barriers and different ramifications for each country.

  • Guy

    Well I like the HDR photo- don’t listen to Mr Grouchy Pants up there, he’s just jealous he didn’t take it himself.

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  • burgy

    super-exciting news and i’m stealing ‘mr. grouchypants’, thx

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  • pansty grouch

    Church = sanctuary = haven. Coupled with protective gate (to protect against libel tourism) and welcoming light (to welcome foreign media). What’s not to like?!

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