International Modern Media Institute

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International Modern Media Institute

The International Modern Media Institute (IMMI) is an international institution developing havens for freedom of information, speech, and expression. It creates supportive and attractive jurisdiction for the publication of investigative journalism[1] and other threatened online media. It succeeded the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative in January 2011.


On 18 February 2010, the institute entered a parliamentary resolution proposal, commonly known as the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, into the Icelandic Parliament Alþingi,[2] proposing that Iceland "strongly position itself legally with regard to the protection of freedoms of expression and information".[3] The proposal was adopted unanimously by parliament on 16 June 2010.[4] Birgitta Jónsdóttir from The Movement was the chief sponsor of the proposal, 19 other MPs (out of 63) from all parties in the parliament supported the proposal by co-sponsoring it.

The proposal passed on 16 June was not a piece of final legislation. Instead, it began a process of editing 13 separate laws according to the proposal's specifications. This process was expected to be completed by mid-2012.[5][6]

After WikiLeaks exposed the loan book of Kaupthing Bank, one of the largest news channels, RUV, was injuncted from displaying the news story. Instead they were forced to simply put a message up of the WikiLeaks website. This led to WikiLeaks being invited by the Digital Freedoms Society to attend an annual conference in Iceland.[7][8][9][10]

The IMMI board has released a report of the legislation on April 16, 2012.[11] It details the status of various proposals that make up IMMI and their progress.

Elements of the law[edit]

The proposal included

  • An "ultra-modern" Freedom of Information Act, based on the 2009 Council of Europe and OAS recommendations as well as modern elements in the FOI laws of Estonia, Scotland, the UK and Norway as well as the Aarhus convention.
  • Whistleblower protections: Protection for those who step forward to reveal important matters in the public interest, based on the US False Claims Act and the US Military Whistleblowers Act.
  • Source protection: Protection for anonymous sources who attempt to communicate to the public after a promise of confidentiality by a journalist or media organisation. Based on new EEA legislation.
  • Source-journalist communications protection: Protection for the communications between an anonymous source and a media organisation and internally within a media organisation prior to publication. Based on the Belgium source protection law of 2005.
  • Limiting prior restraint: Prior restraint is coercion of a publisher, by a government authority, or through the judicial system, to prevent publication of a specific matter. While the Icelandic Constitution provides the right to freedom of expression, small modifications are needed to reduce the possibility of prior restraint.
  • Protection of intermediaries (Internet service providers): Immunity for "mere conduits", ISPs and telecommunications carriers.
  • Protection from "libel tourism" and other extrajudicial abuses: Non-observance of foreign judgements that violate Icelandic freedom of expression protection, and the ability to file a counter-suit in Iceland against a party who engages in a calculated attempt to suppress the speech freedoms of an Icelandic entity. Inspired by legislation passed by the states of New York and Florida and proposed legislation elsewhere.
  • Statute of limitations on publishing liabilities: Recent rulings in Europe maintain that for Internet publications, each page view is publication afresh, regardless of how long ago the material was first released. This has resulted in the silent removal of investigative newspaper stories, including those over five years old, from the online archives of the Guardian and other major newspapers.
  • Process protections: The majority of legal suits related to publishing settle before final judgement. Hence the court process itself must ensure that it is not used to suppress speech through unequal access to justice, subpoenas, or other interlocutory motions. Process protections (called anti-SLAPP laws in the United States) permit a judge to declare the matter a free speech related case, at which point protections are activated to prevent such abuses.
  • Virtual limited liability companies: Based on the LLC legislation used in the U.S. state of Vermont.

Support and endorsements[edit]

The IMMI project was cooperatively organised by numerous organisations and members of the Icelandic parliament.[12] Its principal endorsers were Eva Joly, Index on Censorship, the Icelandic Digital Freedom Society, WikiLeaks, and Icelandic MPs such as Birgitta Jónsdóttir and Róbert Marshall. The project has also had public endorsements from various organisations such as Global Voices, La Quadrature du Net and the Free Knowledge Institute.[13]


As of this edit, this article uses content from "International Modern Media Institute - Frequently Asked Questions", which is licensed in a way that permits reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, but not under the GFDL. All relevant terms must be followed.

External links[edit]