Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson told an OSCE official he supports freedom of the press, but Iceland has been criticised for its lack thereof – with some of those criticisms aimed at Gunnar Bragi.
Stundin reports that Gunnar Bragi met with OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović, who is currently in Iceland and held a lecture at the University of Iceland today.
In a statement posted on the ministry’s website, Gunnar Bragi expressed “Iceland’s strong support of Mijatović’s work, based on safeguarding the freedom of expression and the free, independent and diverse media which is essential to democracy, growth, and that the government is shown the necessary checks”.
The statement is interesting in light of recent criticism of Iceland’s freedom of the press. Last November, Reporters Without Borders issued a statement expressing what it sees as a decline of press freedom in Iceland over the past two years. Amongst the government officials accused of adding to an environment of intimidation towards reporters was Gunnar Bragi himself, as Reporters Without Borders pointed out he “imposed his own conditions on [national broadcasting company] RÚV, refusing to give it interviews unless it sends him a copy of video before it is broadcast”.
Earlier this year, Iceland received its lowest press freedom rank ever from the same group, citing an increasing hostility from the government towards RÚV.