Icelandic Modern Media Initiative

The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative addresses the key issues for free expression in the digital age, and may yet be the catalyst for the kind of legislative reforms that all 21st Century democracies will need.

— Index on Censorship

I am proud to advise the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative’s proposal to create a global safe haven for investigative journalism. I believe this proposal is a strong way of encouraging integrity and responsive government around the world, including in Iceland. In my work investigating corruption I have seen how important it is to have have robust mechanisms to get information out to the public. Iceland, with its fresh perspectives and courageous, independent people seems to be the perfect place to initiate such an effort towards global transparency and justice.

— Eva Joly MEP

Iceland is at a unique crossroads. Because of an economic meltdown in the banking sector, a deep sense is among the nation that a fundamental change is needed in order to prevent such events from taking place again. At such times it is important to seek a collective future vision and take a course that will bring the nation and the parliament closer together.

On February 17th a parliamentary resolution will be filed at the Icelandic parliament suggesting that Iceland will position itself legally with regard to the protection of freedoms of expression and information. This suggestion for a future vision has sparked great enthusiasm both within the parliament and among those it has been introduced to.

According to Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF), Iceland went from being placed first in the world for freedom of expression (2007) to 9th (2009). It is time this trend was rectified.

The goal of the IMMI proposal is to task the government with finding ways to strengthen freedom of expression around world and in Iceland, as well as providing strong protections for sources and whistleblowers. To this end the legal environment should be explored in such a way that the goals can be defined, and changes to law or new law proposals can be prepared. The legal environments of other countries should be considered, with the purpose of assembling the best laws to make Iceland a leader of freedoms of expression and information. We also feel it is high time to establish the first Icelandic international prize: The Icelandic Freedom of Expression Award.

This proposal does not belong to any single group or party, but should be considered a joint project of all parliamentarians to find a harmonious tone of reconciliation in order to pull the nation out of these difficulties with something to achieve together.

We have already been in touch with, and introduced the proposal to, various interest groups whom this new legislation package might affect, including industry, media and civil society. So far we have only received positive feedback from all levels.

A keen interest has developed among the foreign press in relation to this legislative proposal, perhaps because all over the world the freedom to write news is increasingly being smothered. In their mind Iceland could become the anti-dote to tax havens: a journalism paradise.

The suggestions in the proposal for a legislative package would transform the possibilities for growth in various areas. Iceland could become an ideal environment for Internet-based international media and publishers to register their services, start-ups, data centers and human rights organizations. It could be a lever for the economy and create new work employment opportunities.

If this proposal became a reality it could improve democracy and transparency in Iceland, as firm grounding would be made for publishing, whilst improving Iceland’s standing in the international community.

IMMI is a proposal for a parliamentary resolution for Iceland to strongly position itself legally with regard to the protection of freedoms of expression and information. Read other articles by Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, or visit Icelandic Modern Media Initiative's website.