Arna Schram, the chairman of the Icelandic Journalists Union, called a
Supreme Court ruling sentencing a journalist to pay damages to a strip
club because of an article she wrote about it “a serious judgement for journalists”.
Björk Eiðsdóttir, a journalist for the magazine Vikan, wrote an article about the strip club Goldfinger, wherein a former employee contended that prostitution is conducted at the establishment. The club’s owner denied the allegation, and sued the magazine for slander. The Supreme Court recently ruled in the club’s favor, and sentenced the journalist to pay 900,000 ISK in damages and legal fees.
Arna Schram says they may appeal the decision to the European Human Rights Court.
“I find this judgement very serious and if it stands it could have a negative impact on democratic speech,” said Schram to Morgunblaðið in part.
Schram went on the say that the judgement was a form of shooting the messenger, and that it could influence journalists to edit out statements made by their sources out of fear of having a legal case filed against them for quoting someone else.