Expression

The freedom of expression is guaranteed by Article 73 of the Constitution. Reservations are made on the grounds of public order, state security and the protection of health, morals and the rights or reputation of others, but these must be consistent with Iceland’s democratic traditions. The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, passed unanimously by parliament in 2010, established progressive freedom of expression and media freedom laws, and protects investigative journalists. In 2015, the permissive position on the freedom of expression was expanded further, when blasphemy laws were abolished. There are a range of diverse media, with both party-owned and independent newspapers, and privately-owned radio and TV stations. State broadcaster RÚV has autonomy and remains the most trusted news source, but there is growing concern about the concentration of media ownership, and the potential for bias: Morgunblaðið, the oldest newspaper, is seen as representing the powerful fishing industry, for example, while one company now controls most of the main private broadcast outlets and a high-circulation free paper. In common with print media in many countries, the advent of the digital era has left print media facing stiff online competition, which limits resources for investigative journalism. Defamation remains a criminal offence.