Iceland 🇮🇸 is a Northern European country which mostly practices Christianity. Although its constitution guarantees freedom of expression and of the press, the country has had instances of censorship.

General censorship[]

Censorship is prohibited by the Icelandic constitution, and there is a strong tradition of protecting freedom of expression that extends to the use of the internet. However, questions about how best to protect children, fight terrorism, prevent libel, and protect the rights of copyright holders are ongoing in Iceland, as they are in much of the world.

Publishing pornography is illegal in Iceland, and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to 6 months. Publishing child pornography is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to 2 years. In 2013, the Icelandic government proposed banning violent internet pornography, and Iceland's parliament began debating a ban on online pornography.

Book censorship[]

Film censorship[]

  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) - this horror film was banned between 1985 and 1999 due to high-level violent content. A censored version was later released.
  • The Treasure of the Amazon - this film was banned in 1987[1].
  • Inseminoid - this Alien-like horror film was banned due to it featuring a scene of a woman getting gorily impregnated by an alien.
  • Nekromantik - this horror film was banned in 1987 due to its transgressive subject matter (including necrophilia) and audacious imagery.
  • Cannibal Holocaust: This found footage cannibal film was banned in 1992 due to very high impact violence and offensive depictions of both human and animal cruelty. It is still banned.

Internet censorship[]

The five nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland, are central players in the European battle between file-sharers, copyright-holders, and internet service providers (ISPs). While each country determines its own laws, the presence of the European Union (EU) is felt in all legal controversies and court cases. Iceland, while not a member of the EU, is part of the European Economic Area (EEA), and has agreed to enact legislation that is similar to that which is passed in the EU in areas such as consumer protection and business law.

Internet service providers in Iceland use filters to block websites that distribute child pornography. Iceland's ISPs, in cooperation with "Barnaheill—Save the Children Iceland", participate in the International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE) project. Suspicious links are reported by organizations and by the general public, and are passed on to relevant authorities for verification.

In 2012 and 2013, Ögmundur Jónasson, the Minister of the Interior, proposed two bills to the Icelandic parliament that would limit Icelander's access to the internet. The first bill proposed limitations on gambling, and the second bill on pornography. Neither bill was passed by the Icelandic parliament, and a new government has since been formed following the parliamentary election that was held on 27 April 2013.

On 10 June 2009, the two major ISPs in Iceland – Vodafone Iceland and Iceland Telecom, at the behest of SAFT (Save the Children Iceland) and other interest groups, instated a null route on the website ringulreid.org, making it inaccessible to most commercial Internet users in Iceland. Other members of the Reykjavik Internet Exchange did not institute the null route, but both Vodafone and Síminn blocked it at their Icelandic routers.

The ringulreid.org domain subsequently expired and the site was taken down by its operator. But a similar site slembingur.org sprang up to replace it.

Both Vodafone Iceland and Síminn updated their blocks to null route, the IP address slembingur.org resolves to. ringulreid.org was a 4chan-like image board in the Icelandic language which had been making the news for cyber-bullying, child porn and similar material. The administrators of the site had rejected these accusations, citing their strict policies of banning users who posted child pornography. ringulreid.org had been set up after a similar site, handahof.org, had been voluntarily closed down by its operator on request of the Iceland Capital Police following their investigation into the matter.

The block against ringulreid.org was instated at the behest of the National Police of Iceland, Iceland Capital Police, the Child Protection Authority of Iceland (part of the Iceland Ministry of Social Affairs), Save the Children Iceland (SAFT) (a private organisation) and various other private and government groups, which made public statements encouraging all internet service providers in the country to block access to the site.

Thus the censorship in Iceland is not explicitly government mandated, but implemented voluntarily by private corporations in response to pressure from government and private institutions. Vodafone conducted a legal review to investigate whether it was within its rights to restrict access to the website, and after finding that they were within their rights instituted the block.

In a statement two days after the initial block Hrannar Pétursson, the press secretary for Vodafone, indicated that it was not on Vodafone's agenda to implement a more general censoring mechanism, but as ringulreid.org was an "exaggerated example of such a case" Vodafone considered the act justifiable. His colleague Margrét Stefánsdóttir at Síminn echoed those remarks, saying that Síminn would never close a page on its own initiative, but when faced with such serious requests they were compelled to act.

Since slembingur.org is hosted on a shared web-hosting service, and the block takes the form of a null route, any other sites that happen to share the same IP address are also blocked. As of 30 September 2010, these were the private E-Mail gateway ns1.bighost.lv, the cosmetics manufacturer saulesfabrika.com, the construction company timbersolution.com, the printing house veiters.com, and the boilerplate site ventus.lv. As of 8 February 2011, slembingur.org had changed IP addresses and is therefore no longer blocked by Vodafone. The null route is still in place, so collateral damage is the only result from this incident.

Television censorship[]

External links[]

  1. Islan