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April 27, 2010

Iceland move to become haven of free speech

Filed under: Uncategorized, Blogroll, News, ethical space editors blog, Headlines, journalism — news_editor @ 1:19 pm

Since the Icelandic economy imploded in 2008, its citizens have been determined to learn the lessons. And one of the most remarkable responses has been the launch of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (Immi) which aims to make the country a haven for investigative journalists and whistleblowers everywhere.

The official website of the Immi says ‘Because of an economic meltdown in the banking sector, there is a deep sense among the nation that a fundamental change is needed to prevent such events from taking place again.’ The proposal tasks the government with adopting laws that provide strong protection for sources and freedom of expression and information both at home and abroad. As some nations are known as tax havens for their secrecy, the Immi suggests Iceland could be the opposite - a journalism haven known for its openness.

There is considerable support for the initiative from among the country’s 51 MPs and organisations such as Transparency International and Reporters Without Borders. The founders of the whistleblowers’ site, Wikileaks, Julian Assange and Daniel Schmitt, advised on the proposal, and preparations for the recent release of the Wikileaks video showing a US army helicopter attack in Iraq were made in Iceland.

Wikileaks also played a crucial role during Iceland’s financial meltdown when a television broadcaster was prevented from revealing creditors in the banking scandal. In response, the broadcaster ran the url for the Wikileaks’ revelation instead.

The Immi proposals also include:
- the introduction of special whistleblower protections;
- protection for the communications between an anonymous source and a media organisation and internally within a media organisation prior to publication (based on the Belgium source protection law of 2005);
- limitations on prior restraint, namely the coercion of a publisher, by a government authority or through the judicial system, to prevent publication of a specific matter.

See:; and

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