Transparency For Everyone - The Reykjavik Grapevine

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Transparency For Everyone

Transparency For Everyone


Published July 19, 2013

The story of Sigurður Ingi Þórðarson is unbelievable, incredible. This much is clear:  three years ago, at age seventeen, Sigurður managed to get himself deeply involved in a staggering, still unfolding turn of events that continues to have massive global repercussions to this very day. His exact level of involvement is disputed; indeed, he has made claims that have later been proven unfounded or, at best, severely exaggerated.

Not everyone likes the man on our cover, Sigurður Ingi Þórðarson. That much is clear. Some people even think magazines like Grapevine are doing a disservice to truth, justice and several important causes by interviewing the man, thus providing him with a platform to spread his purported lies and delusional fantasies.

Note that some of those very people are outspoken proponents of open information policies; of ‘transparency’ and of ‘liberating’ public and private data, making it widely available and letting the public judge for itself.
I agree with those people. I believe that organizations like WikiLeaks and people like Edward Snowden have been pivotal in changing the way we think about the world at large and how its denizens are affected by various forces and powers. Thank you, organizations like WikiLeaks and people like Edward Snowden.

I believe that information should be out in the open. I believe that everyone has the right to have his or her story heard. I believe discourse should not be controlled, or dominated by a single voice. I believe in conversation, in letting the public judge for itself.

Sigurður Ingi Þórðarson spins a fascinating yarn, and you will no doubt enjoy reading what he has to say—although you will have to take him with a grain of salt. But there’s more to it! Alongside the interview, we are running several connected stories that detail the apparently dead dream of Iceland as “whistleblower haven,” US government agencies spying on Icelandic citizens, Icelandic government agencies spying on Icelandic citizens and the state of transparency and freedom of information in the world.

In one of those articles—“Paradise Lost Or Still In The Making”—our intern Shea Sweeney investigates why the Icelandic government has ignored whistleblower Edward Snowden’s pleas for asylum or citizenship. Her article is a great read (actually, all of our current interns kick ass—read their stuff!), and she closes with an excellent point: “This is a matter of paying attention to how governments react when they are put under a spotlight and given the opportunity to hold themselves accountable for connecting the values they claim to represent with the actions they actually take.

This applies as much to Iceland as it applies to the United States.”

Now take some time and read all of this stuff.

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