Musings, politics and environmental issues

Archive for August, 2014

Freedom (or not) of the Icelandic press

The Icelandic press has generally been considered – at least by outsiders – as free from corruption and editorial bias. But is it?

Earlier this week, one of the editors of the widely-read newspaper Frettabladid was fired and a day later the other editor resigned after writing a strong-worded editorial about freedom of the press. One of the new (albeit temporary) editors is also the publisher of the company 365 that owns the paper.

There have also been battles over the independent paper DV, which publishes less news items but covers issues in more detail than other media. The journalists there want to keep their journalistic independence while a new shareholder, whose activities have been covered in critical fashion by the paper, wants to get rid of the editor there, Reynir Traustason. UPDATE: Reynir Traustason will probably leave the paper on Friday.

The remaining major newspaper, Morgunbladid, has connections with the powerful fishing lobby LIU and is co-edited by David Oddsson, ex-Prime Minister of Iceland, who is said to be still active in decisions made by the conservative Independence Party.

Not much is left. The national radio and TV station? There are cuts there: they can’t afford to pay people for material and cut staff at the end of last year.

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Article up on the economic and trade repercussions of whaling

Inter Press Service finally published my article on the economic and trade repercussions of whaling for Iceland. It seems that minke whale hunters have not been particularly active this summer as by August 11 only 19 whales had been killed, cf. 74 fin whales. The minke whale hunters had initially hoped to catch 50 whales this summer, but at the current rate this is very unlikely to happen as the season ends around the end of September. Last year, 38 minkes were caught.

Two months after Japanese whale meat had arrived in Japan via the cargo ship Alma, the whale blubber was still in cold storage in Osaka customs.

Huge turnout for Gay Pride carnival in Reykjavik

An estimated 90,000 people were in downtown Reykjavik today for the annual Gay Pride carnival – that is more than a quarter of the Icelandic population. Good weather probably helped, but still…. For the first time, the Icelandic scout movement had a float in the parade, to underline the fact that Icelandic scouts aren’t prejudiced – apparently there is some prejudice amongst the American scout movement.I think today’s turnout is a record!

Gay Pride has always been well supported by Icelanders, and all the newspapers carried some sort of in-depth article about the issue.