Saturday, 13 February 2010

The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI) is a proposal being drafted by parliamentarians living in the small, island nation. They include Birgitta Jónsdóttir, who entered parliament in April 2009 and prior to that "worked as a writer, artist, activist, web developer, designer", says her website.

IMMI seems to offer a way to both prevent the kind of economic problems Iceland has experienced recently, and to boost the economy. But what sort of legislation is being talked about?

Wikileaks members talk about assembling best practices from around the world including, for example, the US Constitution's First Amendment. By combining the best ways to encourage fearless journalism from a variety of countries, Jónsdóttir and Wikileaks hope to make a Shangri-La for journalism -- a place where reporters can write without the threat of damaging or unpleasant consequences exercised through legal instruments by parties interested in events being described.

As Wikileaks activitist Julian Assange points out in the YouTube video posted on the Nieman Journalism Lab site, the idea of creating a journalism-friendly jurisdiction in Iceland came to Jónsdóttir after Wikileaks members appeared on a TV talk show, where they introduced the concept.

The BBC has also covered the developing story.

Wikileaks is a non-profit organisation that aims to make information public that governments and corporations do not want to see released into the public sphere. It is funded by donation.

Icelandic parliamentarians who've taken on the project see economic opportunity in a world, which is quickly evolving, where the cloud will perform many of the tasks we currently carry out on our computer desktops. Software applications located in a cloud environment are served remotely and users sign in with a password.

Other options include hosting news sites under Icelandic domain names.

Coupled with Iceland's attractions for companies looking for cheap, non-carbon cycle electricity and cooling for their internet server farms, such legal protection could be very attractive to "cloud computing" and publishing services.

Riots took place in Iceland last year following the 50-percent devaluation of the currency in the wake of massive banking losses brought about by speculative banking conducted on the back of laws which attracted many overseas banks to do business in Iceland.

Icelanders are now looking for a way to both prevent a repetition of the troubles through better reporting, and to encourage overseas investment in their tottering economy.

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