Iceland's pitch to become the Cayman Islands of journalism

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This week, Iceland's parliament will be debating one of the most radical media proposals to be floated in a long time: the

. In essence, the plan aims to fix some of the damage that the country's banking crisis did to its economy by making Iceland a haven for journalists. As the

notes, it's a bit of a hodge-podge of the best of free speech protection legislation from around the world: a bit of source protection law from Belgium, some whistleblower laws from the US, and most interestingly, some New York State laws designed to block "libel tourism" cases, essentially the practice of suing in Britain's notoriously tough courts for pieces written anywhere in the world, just because they were published online.

The piece notes that only about a third of parliament supports the proposal at the moment, but even that much is pretty wild, and would never have happened had it not been for the banking crash. The core of the proposal notes that where journalism is produced is increasingly unimportant today, which opens up economic opportunities for countries willing to create legal protections for media-making. That recognition certainly moves the international debate forward, regardless of whether the measure passes.

Here's the pitch:

The world's media is moving to the Internet, allowing publishing from any location. Whether a newspaper like The Guardian is published online out of Reykjavik or New York is indistinguisable to its readers. At the same time, there is a recognized crisis in quality journalism.

Where to publish is now decided by factors such as distance and communications capacity, server costs and legal environment. Iceland has the first two covered: it has fast undersea cables to some of the world's largest consumers of information, and its clean green power and cool temperatures are attractive to those running internet services.

We can create a comprehensive policy and legal framework to protect the free expression needed for investigative journalism and other politically important publishing. While some countries provide basic measures, Iceland now has an opportunity to build an internationally attractive legislative package built from the best laws of other nations.