Home

Iceland's economic downturn is a ”freedom of speech” upturn

Iceland approves bill that turns the recession-plagued island into a "new media heaven"
Kim Andersen
17 June 2010

During recent years, Iceland has suffered from a recession incomparable to that experienced in any other country in Europe. Today, however, the situation is about to change. Not on the financial stage but on the political rights stage. On 16 June, the Icelandic parliament unanimously approved a bill that will create a ”new media haven” on Iceland.

The bill is inspired by a proposal put forward by Wikileaks, an organisation that has lately has come under pressure from the American administration because of classified documents published on their website. A scandal on Iceland also provided the proponents of the bill with ammunition. In 2009, the largest bank gagged the national broadcaster in attempt to silence the truth. Together this animated the Icelandic parliament to approve a bill that will make Iceland a haven for people like the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, but also prominent authors, journalists and the like.

The question is whether this will be an international beacon or a secluded haven of intellectual debate. While one could wish for the former the latter seems more probable. It is possible to block access to server, as BT did with the famous Swedish site, Piratebay. This might be the future for Wikileaks and other websites that ”blow the whistle” a bit too loud. If Wikileaks is shut down then what? While Iceland can provide the legal protection, it cannot provide uncompromisable publishing platforms with unrestricted reach.

Urgent: help us expose dark money in politics

Cambridge Analytica was the tip of the iceberg. openDemocracy is investigating how dark money is influencing what we see, hear and think across the world. We have many fresh leads to chase down, but need your support to keep going. Please give what you can today – it makes a difference.

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram