It doesn't surprise me that the famously independent Icelanders are out on the forefront of the issue of free speech in the Information Age. This fantasticbrief in the Los Angeles times discusses the work of the Iceland Modern Media Institute, whose mission is to "create a global safe haven for investigative journalism." Despite the potentially unsavory connections to Wikileaks honcho Julian Assange, the instinct of the Icelandic Althing is fundamentally sound. In a world where the boundaries between public and private continue to erode, and where new media undermines the capacity of the press to conduct the kind of investigative reporting that will no doubt be the hallmark of the print age of journalism, we need intellectual visionaries to show us the way. Who knew that the vision would come from a parliament, of all places.
Quoting from the IMMI website: "Birgitta Jonsdottir, the chief sponsor in parliament of the IMMI proposal said: "Iceland will become the inverse of a tax haven; by offering journalists and publishers some of the most powerful protections for free speech and investigative journalism in the world. Tax havens aim is to make everything opaque. Our aim is to make everything transparent."
Radical transparency. What was promised us by the Obama campaign. What Mr. Jefferson (ever the dangerous radical) would have been fighting for. What might be impossible to achieve in a country the size of the United States.
Thank you, Iceland, for providing leadership here.