Draft of Iceland’s First Comprehensive Music Policy Published

Iceland Airwaves Gyða Valtýsdóttir

A draft of Iceland’s first comprehensive policy on music has been published on Samráðsgátt, a site for public feedback on proposed legislation. The proposed bill is the first of its kind, and it will be open for comment until August 31.

The legislation is the result of a 2021 working group which identified both the central importance of music to the Icelandic economy and also the lack of a comprehensive government policy for music funding and education. The working group was composed of individuals within the Icelandic music industry, staff at the University of Iceland, and also representatives from the Ministry of Education and Children’s Affairs. Key among the recommendations of the working group were the need to establish a Music Center and to merge several existing funds, which were shown to overlap in several responsibilities.

The new policy identifies music as not just one among many of Iceland’s exports, but instead as a cornerstone of Icelandic education, tourism, and commerce. Given its central importance, the new legislation hopes to shape music policy in Iceland through 2030 in a way that has already been done in other cultural fields. In addition to the new, streamlined structure for funding, the new bill hopes to increase total funding for music in Iceland.

The new bill will consist of two separate action plans, one valid through 2026, and the other until 2030. As of now, only the action plan for the years 2023 – 2026 has been published.

Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir, Minister of Culture and Tourism, said in a statement: “This is a major turning point, and with the policy and the law on music, we are working to promote music throughout the country and, for the first time, define a comprehensive framework for the issue of music that has been lacking for a long time. With this, we want to create the conditions for music to grow and prosper for a long time to come.”

Lilja Alfreðsdóttir is Government’s Most Popular Minister

Lilja Alfreðsdóttir is one of the people nominated for Person of the Year.

A new survey has found that Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, Minister of Education, Science and Culture, is Iceland’s most popular cabinet minister. Stundin notes that no other minister comes close to Lilja’s rating: 67.6% approval, 9.6% disapproval.

Among her recent initiatives, Lilja has proposed the introduction of a bill outlining measures against sexual harassment in sports and youth groups, has suggested a restructuring of the Icelandic school system, and has introduced paid internships for student teachers.

The next most popular minister, with 43.2% approval and 19% disapproval, is Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir, the Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation who also temporarily serving as Minister of Justice. Þórdís Kolbrún took over as Minister of Justice in March, when Sigríður Á. Andersen resigned from the position after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that her appointments to the Court of Appeal had been unlawful and impeded individuals’ rights to a fair trial. The survey was taken shortly after Sigríður resigned and so it perhaps comes as no surprise that she was found to be respondents’ least favorite minister, with an approval rating of 13.8% and a disapproval rating of 65.8%.

Bjarni Benediktsson, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs has the next highest disapproval rating, 51.6%, although he still has an approval rating of 25%.

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir had a fairly even approval to disapproval rating: 38.6% said they were happy with her performance; 34.4% said they were dissatisfied.

The survey was conducted by Maskína from March 15 to 27. There were 848 respondents.



Þórdís Kolbrún Gylfadóttir New Minister of Justice

Pictured above: Iceland’s cabinet. Þórdís Kolbrún sits far left. Photo: Golli.

The current Minister of Tourism, Industry, and Innovation Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir will add the title Minister of Justice to her duties. Þórdís will take on the post temporarily, replacing Sigríður Andersen after she stepped down in the wake of a decision by the European Court of Human Rights. The court ruled that Sigríður’s appointments to the Court of Appeal had been unlawful and impeded individuals’ rights to a fair trial.

This turn of events was revealed earlier today after a closed meeting was held by MPs of the Independence Party.

Þórdís Kolbrún is a member of the Independence Party and has been a member of Parliament for the Northwest constituency since 2016. She has held her role as Minister of Tourism, Industry, and Innovation since January 2017, when she became the youngest woman to became an Icelandic minister, at the age of 29. Þórdís Kolbrún is vice chairperson of the Independence Party and replaces her fellow party member Sigríður Andersen.