Þórdís Pálsdóttir, a vice Reykjavík City councilperson for the Independence Party, believes that Gísli Marteinn Baldursson, himself a former Independence Party city councilperson and a television host at RÚV, may have broken RÚV’s ethics guidelines for journalists by expressing an opinion about city planning on social media, Vísir reports.
The specific part of RÚV’s ethics guidelines states: “Employees whose work entails reporting the news, news-related material and daily programming, may not take a public position about political matters or controversial topics on the public discourse, amongst other areas on social media.”
Gísli Marteinn is the host of RÚV’s popular talk show Vikan, but is also quite passionate about city planning, something he has made no secret. In a Facebook post from him yesterday, he criticised the Independence Party for their opposition to lowering the speed limit for certain Reykjavík streets, countering their claims that it would increase traffic by pointing out that available data for when this was done for Hofsvallagata showed that traffic actually decreased.
The matter was brought up in the Facebook group Vesturbærinn, where Þórdís speculated that Gísli Marteinn may have broken this particular ethics guideline of RÚV’s. This same guideline was applied to journalist Helgi Seljan for expressing his opinions on the Fishrot Files scandal, which he also reported on.
The guideline is a controversial one, and many journalists have objected to it on the grounds that it constitutes restriction of freedom of speech.
For his part, Gísli pointed out that he lives in the neighbourhood where changes are proposed and he is fully within his rights to express his opinion on the matter. He added that he had received permission from the director of operations at RÚV to post his thoughts about the issue.
No decision has yet been taken by RÚV on this matter.
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