Last Updated: Friday, 16 February 2018, 15:01 GMT

Freedom of the Press 2008 - Iceland

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 29 April 2008
Cite as Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2008 - Iceland, 29 April 2008, available at: [accessed 19 February 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Status: Free
Legal Environment: 1 (of 30)
Political Environment: 4 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 4 (of 30)
Total Score: 9 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)

Freedom of the press and of expression are protected under Article 72 of the constitution, and the government generally does not interfere in the independent media's expression of a wide variety of views. There are limitations to these rights, including fines or imprisonment for people who belittle the doctrines of officially recognized religious groups. Additionally, people may face fines and up to two years' imprisonment for assaults against race, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation. In March 2007, Icelandic singer Bubbi Morthens won US$11,000 in a libel case against gossip magazine, Hér og nú. In June 2005, the magazine featured a cover image of the singer smoking a cigarette and insinuated falsely that he had recommenced using drugs.

A wide range of publications includes both independent and party-affiliated newspapers. Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RUV) was re-established as a public corporation in March 2007. RUV runs radio and television stations funded by both a license fee and advertising revenue. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, RUV is obliged to promote Icelandic history, culture, and language. Media concentration is a concern in Iceland, with the company 365 controlling much of television and radio broadcasting as well as one of the major national newspapers and several magazines. In 2007, 86 percent of the country's population was reported to use the internet, which is unrestricted by the government.

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