Iceland as free speech haven-state

Still riffing on the shifting sands of geopolitics, here’s another interesting nugget: the people behind the controversial (and short-of-funds) Wikileaks site have been lobbying Iceland to introduce a suite of journalism shield laws and become a sort of free-speech sanctuary or safe harbour for controversial data [via @qwghlm].

The new laws would be modeled on the kind of shady tax laws that tax havens offer the rich. Under the WikiLeaks’ proposal, Iceland would offer sources and journalists a strong package of legal protections thereby establishing itself as a sanctuary for free speech.

Wikileaks’ proposed laws are based on a pick-a-mix approach to the freedom of speech laws around the world: “So we could just say we’re taking the source protection laws from Sweden … the First Amendment from the United States, (and) Belgium’s protection laws for journalists,” said WikiLeaks’ Daniel Schmitt at the Chaos Communication Congress (26C3) that took place last week in Berlin.

Iceland’s a good target, I guess – their recent adventures in economics have left them very open to legislative change, for a start. But how much use will national laws be in a world where nations are little more than a rectangle of coloured cloth and some nostalgic folk songs?