Known as the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, the new law requires changes to Icelandic law to strengthen journalistic source protection, freedom of speech, and government transparency. It isn’t clear at this early stage if this new law will result in the desired effect but its potential is obvious, especially for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Experts and critics are already referring to it as a server safe law, meaning it would probably prevent servers from being forcibly shut down, if the powers that be deem them a nuisance..
There might be other benefits too.
Wikileaks says that it routes all submissions through Sweden, where investigations into the identity of an anonymous source are illegal. Whatever your opinion of their journalistic mission, they’ve proven remarkably crafty and quite adept at not getting caught or in some cases, killed. Other journalism organizations could gain some measure of legal protection for protection of their sources, if all communications were routed through Iceland based servers.
In the U.S., for example, we tend to jut arrest or fire journalists who refuse to reveal sources.
Curious isn’t it?
It will be some time before the full effect of Iceland’s efforts are felt. It may even be years before we understand what an “offshore freedom of expression haven” means to journalists worldwide within the bounds of adversarial legal systems. One thing is certain and that is, if this law meets the certain barrage of legal and covert tests that it faces, it could redefine how information is disseminated to the public on a global scale, as well as the very quality and truthful contained within, rendering high-powered media conglomerates helpless to control what we see and read.
Read the full article here on Nieman Journalism Lab
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