Iceland Culture: Number One In The World In Internet Freedom

We’re heading to Iceland Airwaves! Here’s a preview of a cultural story Brendan’s pursuing while there. Follow Columbia students’ journey, which begins October 30, on the Iceland Airwaves 2013 blog.

According to a recent study by Freedomhouse, Iceland has the most Internet freedom in the world. Sixty countries were surveyed worldwide, with the report concluding that Internet freedom is diminishing. Recent high-profile cases, such as the Edward Snowden leak of the CIA’s spying practices in the United States, has brought the issue of Internet freedom to the forefront of many political conversations.

The Pirate Party is an interesting part of the debate of Internet freedom in Iceland, and may be one of the reasons why the country was ranked at the top for ease and access of information. Founded in Sweden in 2006, the Pirate Party has spread to countries throughout the world, including Iceland in late 2012. They also just gained three seats in the country’s Parliament (consisting of 63 total seats) in this past April’s elections.

According to World Bank, 96% of the population of Iceland has access to and uses the Internet, which is among the most in the world. The Pirate Party’s main goals are freedom of information and direct democracy, ideals that have been seen in Iceland through practices such as the drafting of a new constitution via online platforms such as Facebook and other social media. Citizens could then submit ideas to and debate directly with an elected committee that was designated to draft the new constitution.

Click the video below of Icelandic Parliament member, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, speaking about her involvement with the Icelandic Pirate Party and the importance of freedom in regards to the Internet.

We’re heading to Iceland Airwaves! Follow Columbia students’ journey, which begins October 30, on the Iceland Airwaves 2013 blog.

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