Increasingly less viable media system
Despite the declared aim for Iceland to become the Eldorado of investigative journalism and online media with the adoption of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI) in June 2010, the climate for journalists has been worsening for years because relations between politicians and media have soured. The 2008 economic crisis had a big impact on the media, undermining their economic viability and ability to resist pressure from lobbies, while at the same time reviving public trust in the media and their role as a pillar of democracy. After the crisis, two leading national dailies were acquired by two major fishing and industrial companies, posing a problem of conflicts of interest. The so-called “Fishrot Files” scandal erupted in November 2019 when investigative media began covering thousands of documents published by WikiLeaks that had been leaked from within one of Iceland’s biggest fishing companies, indicating that it had bribed politicians in Namibia to secure a big share of that country’s fishing quota. The company launched a media campaign in 2020 aimed at discrediting the reporters covering the story. Iceland’s legislation protects journalists and freedom of expression, but a lack of funding continues to be the main problem for the media. A new law on media funding is being discussed.
15 in 2020
15.12 in 2020