Iceland’s ranking has fallen in the World Press Freedom Index, which just published its annual ranking for 2021. Iceland fell by one spot, from 15th to 16th place, and has fallen slowly but steadily since it was ranked 10th in 2017. An Index statement says the climate for journalists has been worsening in Iceland and cites funding as the main issue facing the country’s media.
“Despite the declared aim for Iceland to become the Eldorado of investigative journalism and online media with the adoption of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI) in June 2010, the climate for journalists has been worsening for years because relations between politicians and media have soured,” a statement from the Index reads. “The 2008 economic crisis had a big impact on the media, undermining their economic viability and ability to resist pressure from lobbies, while at the same time reviving public trust in the media and their role as a pillar of democracy. After the crisis, two leading national dailies were acquired by two major fishing and industrial companies, posing a problem of conflicts of interest.”
While the statement commends Icelandic legislation, which protects journalists and freedom of expression, it stated that “a lack of funding continues to be the main problem for the media.” Iceland’s government is discussing a new law on funding independent media companies.
The full statement on Iceland’s media can be read here.