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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

February 16, 2010

COULD ICELAND BE A JOURNALISM HAVEN?

EDITOR'S WEBLOG -  Some Icelandic MPs, with the help of non-profit website WikiLeaks, are hoping to turn their small island in the North Atlantic Ocean into a destination for investigative journalists with a new proposal to be submitted to Iceland's parliament on February 16th.

WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has been in Iceland for the past two months, consulting parliamentarians on the bipartisan Icelandic Modern Media Initiative that hopes to turn Iceland into a "journalism haven," he told the BBC. The proposal would implement some of the strongest legal protection in the world for the press and its sources.

If the IMMI passes through parliament, it would also end "libel tourism," a legal tactic used by plaintiffs to file libel suits in jurisdictions with strict laws against libel, no matter where the alleged defamation took place. Journalists, publishers, and internet hosts have all been targets of libel tourism in the past...

If the IMMI passes through parliament, as expected, it could prove to be a coup for freedom of speech in the country, as well as a boon for business in Iceland's struggling economy.

"If it then has these additional media and publishing law protections then it is likely to encourage the international press and internet start-ups to locate their services here," Assange told the BBC.

Assange certainly seems enthusiastic about the prospects of the new legislation. "Iceland could be the antidote to secrecy havens, rather it may become an island where openness is protected," he told The Guardian.




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