Iceland Law to Provide Unprecedented Protections for Journalists

Washington

Freedom House applauds Iceland’s efforts to turn the tide against a global decline in press freedom by voting to create the world’s most powerful law to protect journalists, their sources and freedom of expression.
 
The proposed bill aims to make Iceland a safe-haven for investigative reporting by establishing protections for journalists and their anonymous sources and shielding reporters from foreign libel judgments. Iceland’s parliament passed the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative unanimously on Thursday, with only a single abstention. Exact wording of the legislation will now be written and voted on to determine how the law will be enforced. 
 
“At a time in which countries in every region of the world, democracies and non-democracies alike, are increasing restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of the press, a law like the one proposed by Iceland is an encouraging sign,” said Paula Schriefer, director of advocacy at Freedom House. 
 
Freedom of the Press 2010, Freedom House’s recently released annual report on press freedom, noted an eighth year of decline in global press freedom citing various contributing factors including libel tourism, restrictive press legislation and violence against journalists. Iceland is currently one of the top-ranked countries for press freedom in the report.
 
“Libel tourism and forcing journalists to reveal their sources create conditions that encourage self-censorship, so we applaud Iceland’s efforts to reduce these threats to free expression,” said Freedom House’s freedom of expression officer, Courtney C. Radsch. 
 
Iceland is ranked Free in Freedom of the World 2010, Freedom House’s survey of political rights and civil liberties and Free in Freedom of the Press 2010. For more information of Iceland visit:
 
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.  
 
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