Icelandic politicians ‘tried to influence news’

The Icelandic television station Stod 2 has revealed that politicians regularly used to apply pressure, trying stop or change individual news stories.

Politicians consistently tried to affect Stod 2 news reporting in the station’s first years, the channel itself claims.

Government ministers apparently tried to force Stod 2 to fire individual journalists for stories the government found uncomfortable. Stod 2 made the claim in a special programme broadcast after the news yesterday evening.

The programme was created and scheduled as part of the 25th anniversary of Stod 2 and its interviewees included the channel’s founders, Jon Ottar Ragnarsson and Hans Kristjan Arnason. They spoke about the beginning of Stod 2’s news broadcasting and the massive shock it was to politicians who wanted to influence its work and emphases.

Before Stod 2, the only television news in Iceland was provided by national broadcaster, RUV. For the last 25 years there has been competition and, according to the programme, the pressure from politicians did not last many years in the face of the channel’s steadfastness.

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