Icelandic Modern Media Initiative passes: a new safe haven for journalists?


Jake Appelbaum says,

The IMMI (Icelandic Modern Media Initiative) passed last night unanimously (tweet 1, tweet 2).

Read more about the IMMI here. Here's the WikiLeaks talk about IMMI from the last Chaos Communications Congress. Here's the time line.

This is a really big deal for journalists and free speech activists everywhere. This has been a major effort by hundreds of people from all over the globe, and most importantly the Icelandic people! I have an unending amount of respect for the people of Iceland. They've decided that history shouldn't be erased, that people should be free to discuss what is actually happening in the world around them, and most of all they've decided to help the entire planet with this in mind.

Below, a statement from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange about Wikileaks' involvement in this initiative.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [Announce] WikiLeaks inspired "New media haven" proposal
passes Parliament
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2010 17:00:17 +0100 (BST)
From: Julian Assange


Reykjavik, Iceland; 4:00 UTC, June 16th 2010.

The WikiLeaks advised proposal to build an international "new media haven" in Iceland, with the world's strongest press and whistleblower protection laws, and a "Nobel" prize for for Freedom of Expression, has unaminously passed the Icelandic Parliament.

50 votes were cast in favor, zero against, one abstained. Twelve members of parliament were not present. Vote results are available [here].

One of the inspirations for the proposal was the dramatic August 2009 gagging of of Iceland's national broadcaster, RUV by Iceland's then largest bank, Kaupthing.

Two changes were made to the proposal from its original form as per the opinion of the parliament's general affairs committee [Link]. The first of these altered slightly the wording of the first paragraph so as to widen the arena for research. The second of these added two new items to the list of tasks for the government:

- That the government should perform a detailed analysis, especially with respect to operational security, for the prospect of operating data centers in Iceland.

- That the government should organize an international conference in Iceland regarding the changes to the legal environment being caused by expansion of cloud computing, data havens, and the judicial state of the Internet.

Video footage from the proposal's vote will be available at:

Link 1

Link 2

For details of the proposal and press contacts, please see

Here's a related video report on Al Jazeera.

(image: The Geothermal Genie, a Creative Commons licensed photograph taken in Iceland, from the Flickr stream of "stuckincustoms," whose terrific HDR photoblog is here.)


  1. This is good news and I hope it does some good for international free speech. However, there’s still a pretty big barrier to this being successful: “the problem is that whatever Iceland does, it can’t change the 500-pound gorilla of international media law: the principle that publication happens at the point of download, not the point of upload.”

  2. Hopefully Wikileaks director Julian Assange can make his way there before being arrested by Obama’s goons. (I never thought I’d use the phrase “Obama’s goons”. *sigh*)

  3. Iceland! Yay!

    Between you guys and India, I’m having a lot of hope for the future at the moment. I’m keeping my eye on this — I might be looking for a new country around 2012 or so. ;)

  4. Great article… nice find… Iceland is really a great place and it doesn’t surprise me.

    I actually just finished a 2-week photo adventure there. Glad you liked that pic!

  5. Great initiative, but Iceland is a tiny country that needs funds and, as such, it can be leaned on pretty easily when the need arises. If the EU can pressure Switzerland into giving up bank account names and details despite that country’s rigid privacy laws, I can’t imagine Iceland being too much of a challenge when someone powerful wants some info about a whistleblower or two.

  6. Actually, Iceland is going to put pressure on the rest of the world to tell the truth. If Iceland offers a paid for Internet version of their media, I would buy it–just to get the truth. I cannot say this for other Internet media that wants paid subscriptions.

    If these Icelandic newspapers need remote stringers in other countries, I know that I would apply. I can foresee this activity spawning a series of things like REMOTE HOSTING SITES FOR MEDIA THAT NEEDS PROTECTION, international subscriptions to Icelandic media and a renewal of people’s interest in REAL JOURNALISM.

    People are frustrated by the lack of truth around them and I think that they will be really excited over this turn of events. The truth would completely change how many people view their governments. Just as Icelanders discovered that one of their banks was little more than a Ponzi scheme and acted appropriately to prosecute that malfeasance, so the rest of the world could begin to learn what kind of criminal enterprises have been conducted by their allegedly-elected officials.

    Bravo Iceland!


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