John Hopkins on Thu, 18 Feb 2010 13:21:11 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Iceland's fight for press freedom

nettime's avid reader wrote:
> Icelandic Modern Media Initiative
> Iceland is at a unique crossroads. Because of an economic meltdown
> in the banking sector, a deep sense is among the nation that a
> fundamental change is needed in order to prevent such events from
> taking place again. At such times it is important to seek a collective
> future vision and take a course that will bring the nation and the
> parliament closer together.
> On February 17th a parliamentary resolution will be filed at the
> Icelandic parliament suggesting that Iceland will position itself
> legally with regard to the protection of freedoms of expression and
> information. This suggestion for a future vision has sparked great
> enthusiasm both within the parliament and among those it has been
> introduced to.

I wouldn't hold your breath on this one... Iceland has a legal system
with one foot firmly in the 14th century, and little in the way of
any progressive "Sunshine Laws" regarding transparency in government
-- it is a matter of fact that most governmental functions are done
completely behind dense cloaks of interpersonal secrecy (keep in mind
this is a society of 310,000 people. Personal connection and a private
discretion dominates human relation rather than some anonymous legal
structure as in larger countries: scaling is a critical factor in
human relation!).

One can only hope that the wide-scale of patrimony and nepotism
throughout the government and, indeed, the whole society, might change
as a result of the severe economic meltdown that Iceland experienced,
but there is a countervailing inertia that arises because of this
scaling affect -- individuals will have to actually *change their
behavior* in relation to many others in their sphere of influence and
living. You can't really erase the fact that you, as a citizen in
Iceland, are likely to have an extended family/friend connection where
ever you turn. (again this scaling function, obviously this would be
far less likely in the UK or other large country). In addition, there
is a significant trend where people are 'offshoring' the blame for
the meltdown -- saying that it was the global economic blowout rather
than anything Icelandic that could have possibly been negative. This
wholesale re-writing of history is lead by the former Prime Minister
(and head of the Independence Party) David Oddsson -- architect of the
privatization/deregulation of all the national banks in the 90's which
was a primary factor in the meltdown -- and who was also the Central
Bank chairman when the real collapse happened, is now the editor of
what was the main national newspaper!! That's like Dick Cheney and
Karl Rove gaining control of the NY Times!

BTW -- Alda's been blogging the whole situation in
Iceland for some time now at The Icelandic Weather Report (although she has stopped reporting
on the weather recently...


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