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.