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Authorities create a safe haven for press freedom

On the cutting edge of press freedom, Iceland's parliament has approved a resolution known as the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI) to protect journalists and their sources, and shield reporters from foreign libel judgments, report Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Freedom House.

Bringing together components from the best legislation in the world, Iceland wants to establish itself as a global safe haven for journalists and new media that are being threatened or harassed.

The IMMI aims to "strengthen freedom of expression around the world and in Iceland, as well as providing strong protections for sources and whistleblowers." The initiative intends to secure communications and protect journalists and bloggers from unwarranted defamation suits both in Iceland and abroad.

Iceland also wants to be seen as the ideal place for online media and data storage banks to locate their servers in order to shield themselves from the threats of censorship, filtering and closure, and to provide the best protection for the personal data of their users.

The initiative sprung out of a press issue that deeply affected the country in 2009. Last August, RUV television station was barred from broadcasting a story about Kaupthing Bank, which was immersed in a financial crisis.

"At a time in which countries in every region of the world, democracies and non-democracies alike, are increasing restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of the press, a law like the one proposed by Iceland is an encouraging sign," said Freedom House.

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