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Iceland passes press freedom law

Protects investigative journalists and whistleblowers
Thu Jun 17 2010, 14:13

PLUCKY ICELAND has been inspired by Wikileaks to establish the country as a global sanctuary for investigative journalists and whistleblowers.

Iceland's parliament voted to back the proposals of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI) and turn them into legislation.

Wikileaks has been working with Icelandic parliamentarians and lawyers to draft the law and set its first proposals to take effect in February. It's designed to encourage press and new media companies, like Wikileaks, and to set up secure data stores in Iceland that will be protected from foreign prosecution.

The law will counter 'libel tourism' and takes its legal framework from laws on the books in the US states of New York and Florida. It provides for "a counter-suit in Iceland against a party who engages in a calculated attempt to suppress the speech freedoms of an Icelandic entity."

The spark that ignited cooperation with Wikileaks was Iceland's banking crisis and economic collapse. Back in 2009, Wikileaks presented a document that listed shareholders with insider knowledge who allegedly profited personally from connections with Iceland's Kaupthing bank.

The Icelandic people, media and legal authorities were outraged by the actions of corrupt bankers. Iceland's parliament passed the IMMI journalism shield law so it doesn't happen again. µ



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