News Review Program Not Guilty of Defamation Skip to content

News Review Program Not Guilty of Defamation

Reykjavík District Court found news review program Kastljós on public broadcast RÚV not guilty yesterday for defaming and violating the privacy of Lucia Celeste Molina Sierra and Birnir Orri Pétursson through reports on the granting of citizenship.

The complainants had demanded compensation and a prison sentence of one year for RÚV director Páll Magnússon and four Kastljós reporters, Thórhallur Gunnarsson, Helgi Seljan, Jóhanna Vilhjálmsdóttir and Sigmar Gudmundsson, Morgunbladid reports.

In April 2007, Kastljós insinuated that Sierra’s application for the Icelandic citizenship had been given express treatment because Pétursson, her fiancé, is the son of former Minister of Environment Jónína Bjartmarz.

The Kastljós reporters were accused of not having researched the story thoroughly and for making false statements. They were also accused of trying to damage the political reputation of Bjartmarz.

Reykjavík District Court concluded that the story had been in the interest of the public and not in violation of the privacy of Sierra and Pétursson even though the coverage had not been accurate on all accounts. But since Kastljós later corrected the errors in its reporting of the case, the court did not considered it defamatory.

The lawyer of Sierra and Pétursson, Dögg Pálsdóttir, said her clients will most likely appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Iceland.

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