Iceland, an island country in the North Atlantic, was the focus of European media not because of advances in geothermal energy, tourism landscapes and many geysers.
Natural beauty - subject, of
course, interesting. But now for the Europeans, most importantly,
"ice" passionate country defends their rights to freedom of
expression, protection of information and informants.
International experience in
providing media "green light" and absolute protection of information
and exciting surprises. Unfortunately, this light reality mercilessly reminds
us how far from these perspectives and desired changes.
Cooperation with media
legislation has received support in Icelanders after the devastating crisis of
2008, which exposed all media relations with the government. Foreign reporters
and journalists covered the cases of corruption in Iceland's financial system,
with emphasis on the need to improve access to information and better
protection for whistleblowers. Most active support they gave Icelandic web-site
Iceland's parliament passed
a bill a majority of Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), which provides
stronger guarantees of freedom of speech for the media of this country and the
world. Thus Iceland hopes to encourage foreign media servers to place it in its
Unanimously at a meeting of
the Parliament decided to make adjustments in Icelandic legislation to expand
protection of journalistic sources and protect journalists from foreign libel
Due to the explosive
"critical" wave Iceland was "crazy" debts, which greatly
shook the authority and reputation of the country. In their view, the
strengthening of laws on freedom of speech will restore confidence to a nation
embroiled in an economic crisis and huge debts.
All tools are designed to
improve transparency in their own country. Iceland hopes to encourage foreign
internet media and data center to take the country as the epicenter of global
freedom. This changes the position of Iceland in the world, will allow the
foreign media to increase revenues in the budget. Positive PR and good deeds
will make Iceland a "heavenly" place for the independent press,
"offshore" for freedom of speech. Also in `Rakeyaviku plans to open representative
offices of many international press and human rights organizations.
Based on the fact that on
the bill has a group of 19 deputies (of them in Iceland - 63), representing all
parties, the chance that the country will become a haven for media around the
world, very large. Icelanders offer other nations to repeat their example, and
apply similar laws in themselves.
Proponents of innovations
has become a coalition of Left-Greens and Social Democrats, which received new
seats in Parliament after it became clear that conservatives not able to cope
with the economic crisis that has engulfed the country in 2008-2009.
Not surprisingly, such a law
was accepted on the island of ice, because Iceland has always been known for
its strong democratic traditions. Its parliament - one of the oldest in the
world and press freedom has always remained in the top ten.
Icelandic initiative for
contemporary media (IMMI) - this is called a proposed set of laws will not only
passively protect the media, which will establish its offices in Reykjavik. It
provides a tool for active retaliation by those who try to deal with
disclosure, breach of confidential sources, pressure on journalists claim or
hiking - in the form of prosecution in the Icelandic courts. It's enough, for
example, to place at least one of your server in Iceland (where, incidentally -
very good price, cheap geothermal energy).
The authors of IMMI, the
document includes the best provisions of the laws for the area of media from
around the world. In particular, the law of informers and internet providers
were borrowed in the U.S., protection of sources of information - in the
Belgian laws on freedom of speech - in Estonia and Scotland, said the
publication New York Times. At the request of the Government of Iceland IMMI
already preparing to form guidelines for the maximum protection of sources of
But Icelandic laws will not
protect journalists who publish classified information on the site in Iceland,
if the correspondent is outside the country. As noted by Mr. Bright, IMMI will
only prevent the closure of the site by law enforcement agencies.
Protection of informers is
extremely important for such a small community like Iceland. People here are
very afraid of data leaks.
Government of Iceland
decided to take the following measures: implemented first international prize
for achievements in the development of freedom of speech adopted a bill on
access to information - from now people are entitled to receive, on special
request, all information the government, with very few exceptions, top-secret
government secrets, added Law to protect the "useful" informants who
disclose classified information important to the community, ensured the
protection of sources and protection of communication between journalists and
their sources, protection from the previous government or court ban on
publication of information, protection of participants in the process of
dissemination of information, ie Internet providers and other participants in
communication, protection of limitation Tourism British sample of cases to
protect "the honor and dignity", designed by statute to strict time
limits for the limitation period, provided protection process: in British law
are called sabpeny (subpoena). According to their side of the process must
unfailingly provide information on request of the court - thus may be exposed
sources of information, and more. Icelanders need protection during the process
of such mechanisms, are allowed to create a virtual company with limited
liability. Virtual Ltd - a company without the necessity for paper filing and
reporting without the need for a physical representation, without required
annual meetings in reality. The first legislator is Vermont, USA, since 2008.
The project of modern media
initiative envisages the maximum possible compensation for costs and proven
libel in the amount of ten thousand euros. In this case the limitation period
for online publications is limited to two months, and decisions of foreign
courts on this issue can not generally perform. Increased protection against
sources of information leads to the following: the journalist will have to
disclose his informant only by court order, and only when the threat to human
life or national security. And most sources are additional incentives to share information:
in the event that person becomes aware of the machinations of money to some
Icelandic public office and he shall notify the media or the Member of
Parliament, after the proof of fraud in court, this person receives from 15% to
30% of the detected amount.
More freedom to receive and
Iceland ISPs: they must store data about Web surfing only users within six
months, and to give them only to representatives of the police on the basis of
These rules, according to
the authors of the project, allowing Iceland to better protect the free
expression of opinions.
Ice island allows
journalists and published "bury the end in the water." The initiators
of the project expect that media companies are massively buying offices in the
capital of Iceland and register domain names. Is. This should bring substantial
benefits to the Icelandic economy weakened.
The best examples of
protection of information sources of Foreign journalists and freedom of speech
in general can be seen on the example of Sweden and Belgium.
According to the laws of
Sweden source, which entered into contractual confidentiality of the media is
entitled to file for violators of the agreement in court - and those at risk to
get up to six months in prison for that crime. This can take and journalists.
Similar legislation on
privacy (in finance) operates in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.
Another example - the
conflict Wikileaks (a site that was created by media activists and rights
defenders online, especially for publications leaks of classified materials)
with the government antimonopoly committee of South Africa. The latter prepared
a 590-page report about a secret cartel agreement among major banks in the
country to keep the price of services. Banks pressed the commission, and is
edited and published the report. However, Wikileaks published a full version of
Then banks pressed the
government of South Africa and he began to investigate and find where the leak
occurred. After that Wikileaks lawyers warned the commission that if the
investigation continued, all who are involved in it, get under risk prosecution
under the laws of Belgium and Sweden.
According to the laws of these countries on
the protection of confidential sources and journalists' communications with
sources, all who violate them, even the foreigners from South Africa, subject
to criminal punishment.
In this case, officials from
South Africa have decided to choose to not conflict with the jurisdictions of
Sweden and Belgium, and stopped the search for "mole", which drain
Wikileaks full version of the report. No one wants problems when you travel
Icelanders before the new
year very carefully listened to people with "Wikileaks", and decided
that they had nothing to lose. Very quickly, two months working group members
Alsinhi Icelandic parliament (the oldest in Europe) developed a plan of bills
after completion of committees were adopted in May 2010.
In February, the text of the
law was slightly revised. Firstly, the wording of the first paragraph was
changed to broaden the scope of the law. Second, the duties of the state
replenished with new challenges. Now it ought to engage in an analysis of the
prospects of establishing centers for collecting and processing data in Iceland
and organize international conferences on the changing legal situation and
legal status of the Internet.
The changes affect primarily
the media and Internet sites such as WikiLeaks, which the founders took an
active part in work on the new law. The idea of the project belongs to the
founder WikiLeaks Zhulyanu Assange, who presented it in December last year.
Ukrainian audience WikiLeaks became widely known after the scandal, when in
April 2010 site "plums" footage shot military helicopter U.S.
civilians and two Iraqi employees of the agency "Reuters". Video gets
on TV and caused a huge noise. As a result, the U.S. military confirmed the
authenticity of the video and arrested a young Army intelligence analyst
Bradley Maninha, who allegedly also "discharge" information. Despite
the sad ending of this story, many are able to ensure the necessity of the
existence of such a project as WikiLeaks, which, in the case, actually embodies
investigative journalism, allowing anonymously create and edit content on a
It is important to note that
the Last published on WikiLeaks on financial fraud, related to national
banks-Kaupthing Iceland and Icesavhe, debt which is several billion euros.
But, in general, the experts
expressed skeptical views regarding the law implemented. The economic effect of
its decision remains unclear. Most likely, the financial expectations too high.
In addition, it is not clear how the Icelandic law can help protect foreign
journalists working in the Internet - media. Cudy in several countries took the
decision on which location article is online media publication, if it is accessible
from an area in their jurisdiction. This means that "false" can be
called any article. In addition, lawyers may consider review articles are
posted on the Internet as "downloading materials" because the content
is physically stored on the computer.
In other words, the
Icelandic initiative - a huge step toward true freedom of speech well-informed
society, but outside the ice of the country it could be absurd in general
through various approaches, practicing lawyers from various countries. However,
the reform allows civil society to once again raise the question of
democratization of media industry. IMMI hopes that the new law events and at
So in conclusion, make the
following conclusion: proposals IMMI - this ultra-liberal reform package,
assembled with the legislative experience of different countries. The purpose
of IMMI offers a resolution of the task for the state, which must find ways to
expand freedom of expression in the world and in Iceland, and provide reliable
protection for sources of information. Terms and Wednesday should be examined
in terms of finding similar ways, then may be developed new laws or amendments
to existing ones. Consideration should be given the legal scope of other
countries in order to select the best laws for reincarnation Iceland leader in
the free expression of information.
Iceland has adopted this
law, as the country's economic collapse provoked an extreme degree of secrecy
among the political and financial elite of the state.
According to the Icelanders,
it is much easier to similar laws in countries where the parliament is a small,
high level of education, relatively low corruption, and fast reactive
government. In other words, not ours. We should use the Icelandic offshore.
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