Iceland's experience of reforming the field of journalism

17 декабря 2011, 15:09
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Iceland s experience of reforming the field of journalism

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 Wikileaks.

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 territory.

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 prosecution.

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 information.

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 court decision.

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 the report.

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 around Europe.

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 website.

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 international level.

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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