Iceland | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2005

2005 Scores

Press Status


Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Iceland's constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press, and the government does not interfere in the independent media's expression of a wide variety of views. Freedom of information legislation has been in place since 1996. An autonomous board of directors oversees the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, which operates a number of transmitting and relay stations. Internet access is open and unrestricted. Private and public media report on diverse topics. Some publications are affiliated with political parties. Media ownership is concentrated, with the Northern Lights Corporation controlling television networks, most radio stations, and two out of three of the country's national newspapers. A proposed law placing limits on media ownership was vetoed in May by President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, whose position has historically been that of an apolitical figurehead. This was the first time an Icelandic president had vetoed a proposed law in the republic's 60-year history, and it provoked one of the country's most severe political crises.