Iceland Political Orientation
Government Type: Constitutional Republic with a Multi-Party System
President: Guðni Th. Jóhannesson (ceremonial figurehead)
Leader: Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir
Political Party: Left-Green Movement (Vinstrihreyfingin -grænt framboð)
Political Position: Left-Center (Left and Right-Center Coalition)
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 88.91 – Mostly Free
World Press Freedom Rank: Iceland 18/180
Iceland’s media are among the freest in the world. However, the Reporters without Borders report titled “Increasingly less viable media system” points out the conflicts between fishing corporations and the media. A quote from the RSF report reads, “two leading national dailies were acquired by two major fishing and industrial companies, posing a problem of conflicts of interest.”
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
The Government has minimal direct control over the media outlets since most are privately owned and financed. Four media companies dominate the Icelandic media market; these are RÚV (state-owned) and three private media companies, Torg, Sýn, and Árvakur.
The leading television station is Iceland’s public service broadcaster Icelandic National Broadcasting Service Ríkisútvarpið, or in short, RÚV. RÚV is comprised of television, radio, and online services. An executive board manages RÚV, made up of nine members nominated by the Parliament. RÚV is funded partly by a Broadcasting tax and License fees; the rest of RÚV’s income comes from ad sales. RÚV operates Rás 1, along with Rás 2.
Sýn is a mass media company in Iceland previously known as 365 broadcast media. After it merged with Vodafone Iceland, it became Sýn. In their own words, Syn describes itself as “the strongest private media in the country with media outlets such as Channel 2, Channel 2 Sports, Bylgjan Radio and Visir.is.” Subscriptions and advertisements generate revenue for the company.
Fréttablaðið, owned by Torg Ehf and funded by advertising, is the top daily newspaper in Iceland. Meanwhile, its competitor Morgunblaðið (historical ties to the conservative Independence Party), owned by Árvakur (with links to the fishing industry), relies on both subscriptions and advertisements.
In summary, the press remains free in Iceland; however, increased corporate monopolization of media outlets threatens plurality and creates conflicts of interest.
Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
Do you appreciate our work? Please consider one of the following ways to sustain us.