From Iceland — Freedom Of Press In Iceland: Glitnir HoldCo Appeals Overturned Media Injunction

Freedom Of Press In Iceland: Glitnir HoldCo Appeals Overturned Media Injunction

Published February 16, 2018

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Weeks after Reykjavík District Court lifted a media injunction against Stundin magazine, Glitnir HoldCo announced they would appeal the court’s decision. The appeal marks the company’s ongoing efforts to suppress reporting on Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, who has himself called the injunction “over the line”.

As readers may recall, last October the District Commissioner of Reykjavík, on behalf of Glitnir HoldCo, issued an injunction against the magazine Stundin and media outlet Reykjavík Media, prohibiting them from reporting on the financial activity of Bjarni and his family with Glitnir bank just before the economic collapse of Iceland in October 2008.

The case drew sharp criticism from the Journalists’ Union of Iceland, amongst others, and Stundin’s editor told Grapevine that the injunction goes against freedom of expression in Iceland. The matter was subsequently taken to Reykjavík District Court, which ruled in favour of the media.

While Glitnir HoldCo argued that these outlets were reporting from leaked documents, the court found that the public importance of the contents of those documents trumped any concerns about how the documents were obtained and distributed.

RÚV now reports that Glitnir HoldCo will take the matter to the Court of Appeal.

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir has called the injunction “a massive intervention in the work of a free press”. Even Bjarni himself has called the injunction “over the line”, denying any involvement with initiating it in the first place.

When and if the court will hear the case still remains to be seen.

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