From Iceland — Iceland Drops A Level In Reporters Without Borders

Iceland Drops A Level In Reporters Without Borders

Published April 22, 2020

Sam O'Donnell

Iceland has dropped by one place on Reporters Without Borders‘ World Press Freedom Index, and now occupies 15th place. Each year, the organisation publishes a list of 180 countries in the world and ranks each country by media freedom. The Nordic countries hold the top four seats, with Norway leading the charge.

The association’s report states that despite the fact that there is complete freedom of speech according to the Constitution, the situation of journalists has worsened since 2012 because relations between politicians and media have soured.

Hjálmar Jónsson, chairman of Journalists Association of Iceland, does not agree with the assessment of Reporters Without Borders. He said that despite the fact that Iceland is ten spots away from other Nordic countries such as Norway, the country is on par with them in terms of media freedom.

Alma Ómarsdóttir, chairman of the Association of Reporters in Iceland, took a similar stance. “You gotta wonder what they base this on. It has been going up and down in recent years, and this year is not necessarily any worse than last year.” In addition, she said that in recent years, the Icelandic media have dealt extensively with issues that have led to the resignation of government officials, among other things. “It is worrying that Iceland is declining now, as it is an important time for free media.”

The list is based on various data, such as statistics on journalists’ rights violations. However, statistics on murder and imprisoned journalists in each country weigh heavily. Most European countries are in the top rankings, while the United Kingdom is 35th, and the United States is 45th. North Korea is at the very bottom.

As ever, those looking for more information or advice should go to the Icelandic Government’s excellent COVID-19 help page.

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