Newspapers in Iceland
The Icelandic media market has undergone a major transformation process since
the beginning of the 2000s, following the same pattern as in the other Nordic
New technology in the IT sector and the launch of free magazines have
fundamentally changed the media consumption and the business models that have
carried the traditional media, while blurring the boundaries between different
industries as the internet becomes the platform for both sound and image as well
Internet and mobile telephony
More than 93% of the population aged 16–74 are on the internet daily, which
means that Icelanders are at the absolute top of the world when it comes to
internet use. Mobile surfing has increased sharply since 2010 and more than half
of the population uses the mobile for Internet access.
There are three dominant mobile operators that together have about 95% of
subscribers. The largest is Síminn, which was formed in 2005 when the state
telephone company was privatized. The second largest in the market is Vodafone
Iceland, owned by the Dagsbrún group, which also owns the media group 365.
(Multinational Vodafone Group has no co-ownership but only licenses its brand.)
The third operator with its own 3G network is Nova, whose main owner Björgólfur
Thor Björgolfsson has become widely criticized for his role in the Icelandic
financial crisis 2008–09, including as the principal owner of the bankrupt bank
The surfing behavior of Icelanders does not differ from the other Nordic
countries. Global sites such as Google, Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube
dominate. Two traditional media companies qualify for the top ten list - the
newspapers Morgunblaðið and DV's websites.
TV and radio
The radio and TV industry is organized as in the other Nordic countries. The
state-owned RÚV (Rikisútvarpið) had a long monopoly on radio and television
broadcasts. Radio broadcasting was started in 1930 and TV broadcasting in 1966.
Until 1983, RÚV had only one radio channel, a channel with a high proportion of
cultural and educational programs. After much criticism, RÚV started the channel
Ras 2, which is more focused on daily news and popular music.
July was TV-free month until 1983 and Thursday broadcast-free day until 1986.
RÚV has been financed with both license fees and advertising, but since 2008 the
license has been abolished and replaced with a special tax.
In 1986 the monopoly for the etheric media ceased and a number of private
radio and TV channels established themselves. The media group 365 dominates in
radio with the most popular channel, Bylgjan, and the same company distributes
five own digital TV channels and some 50 international.
Daily press and magazine
The newspaper market in Iceland changed radically in 2001 with the launch of
the free magazine Frettablaðið, with Swedish Metro as the role model. The
magazine is distributed to more than 80,000 households daily and is the most
read in the country. It is considered to be close to the Social Democrats and
advocates for EU membership. Frettablaðið is owned by the media group 365 and is
an integral part of 365's website Vísir.is, which is one of the most visited in
Before Frettablaðið was launched, Morgunblaðið, founded in 1913, was the
dominant daily newspaper. The newspaper reached its circulation peak in 2000
with just over 56,000 copies, but has since collapsed sharply.
In political parties, Morgunblaðið has close ties to the Conservative and
EU-critical Independence Party. The warehouse set accelerated in 2009 following
the controversial decision to appoint former Governor of the Central Bank of
Iceland, Davíð Oddson, as editor-in-chief. Oddson is a member of the
Independence Party and was prime minister in 1991–04. Morgunblaðið's edition is
now under 40,000 copies, but the newspaper's website mbl.is is one of Iceland's
most visited (2012).
The third newspaper of importance is the tabloid DV, since 2010 partly owned
by the employees of the newspaper. DV devotes more resources than the other
newspapers to investigative journalism, but is often criticized for its
The other daily press consists of about 20 regional and local newspapers,
most with one day a week. Modern day press originated in Iceland during the
1910s. Prior to that, occasional periodicals had been published. Thjódólfur,
founded in 1848, is considered the first.
During much of the 20th century, virtually every newspaper was strongly
linked to one of the four political parties. It was only in the 1960s that this
trend was broken and more and more newspapers declared themselves politically
During the 1990s, several nationwide newspapers were closed and today only
Morgunblaðið, Frettablaðið and DV remain. The magazine market is dominated by
the publishing house Bírtingur, which publishes about ten weekly magazines and
magazines, some of them in collaboration with other publishing houses in the
Book and publishing system
Iceland's book system has a remarkable prehistory. In the Middle Ages,
diligent print-offs on calfskin printed down oral traditions of poetry and
prose, thus saving some of the most precious literary treasures in the Nordic
The country's first printing press was built about 1530 on the bishop's seat
of Hólar by the last Catholic bishop, Jón Arason. There, religious literature
was published; The entire Bible came in Icelandic translation 1584. The most
frequently printed book is Hallgrímur Pétursson's Passíusálmar (Passion
Psalms), which was first published in 1666 and is still published in new
The Icelandic book publishing, which included 32 works in 1887, had increased
to about 1,500 titles annually in 2012, which in relation to the population is
thought to be the most in the world. The Icelandic Publishers Association, the
Association of Icelandic Book Publishers, has over 40 member
publishers. Among Iceland's rich flora of periodica are the cultural magazine
Skírnir, the oldest journal in the Nordic region, founded in 1827.
The National Library of Iceland (National Library of Iceland), which
was added in 1818 and merged with the university library in 1994, is a duty
delivery library and comprises just over 1,000,000 volumes of Icelandic and
foreign print and about 15,000 manuscripts (2012). The domestic pressure is
recorded in annual lists, as well as audio files. Several archives and libraries
are responsible for publishing in various specialist areas, mainly among them
Stofnun Árna Magnússonar, who continuously publishes works on Icelandic
Calculated per inhabitant, Iceland publishes
more books and has more bookcases than any other country
in the world. Throughout history, literature has stood
in a class of its own in Icelandic culture.
The classical literature was written down in the 12th
and 13th centuries. It mainly reproduces older, oral
traditions from pre-Christian times. The oldest works
were written in Norway but could be preserved in Iceland
because, unlike the other Nordic countries, the country
was Christianized in relatively calm forms. Thus, it did
not become so urgent for the church to suppress the
memories of the pre-Christian era.
Latest population statistics of Iceland, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
This early literature was created by unknown authors
and is collected in the so-called Edda poetry. As
immortal works, Hávlaim, who, among other things, gives
advice on the Viking era's knowledge and etiquette, as
well as Völuspá, which depicts the world's creation and
the gods' struggle for the world's destruction, ragnarok.
An easily accessible genre is the poem of poetry or
the drape which in the 9th century gave Egill
Skallagrímsson and other skalders the opportunity to
excel in an exquisite and distinctive imagery, so-called
teachings. Within the prose, the personal and family
stories from the 13th century form a special genre; most
famous is Njal saga whose word button but dramatically
expressive storytelling technique still inspires writers
Even after the entry of Christianity in the 1000s,
the literary traditions of ancient times were alive and
new works were created, for example the unique and
poignant Sólarljóđ (Solsĺngen) by an unknown writer.
An important tradition is the writing of history,
exemplified by Landnámabók which depicts the island's
colonization. One historian and conservationist in
particular was the great man Snorri Sturluson (in sworn
form Snorre Sturlasson; 1179–1241), who among other
things wrote the history of the Norwegian kings in
In the 1300s, a new form of epic poems, rímur (singularis
ríma), came under the influence of European ballad
poetry. These have maintained their popularity in
Iceland into modern times. In the 17th and 18th
centuries manuscripts of the Icelandic sagas were
brought to the colonial power of Denmark, but in the
late 1900s these were brought back.
The 16th century reformation became a break for
cultural life, which had largely been centered around
the church. However, as an important religious poet,
Hallgrímur Pétursson emerged in the 17th century. His
collection of 50 Passion Psalms still characterizes the
Church's Easter celebrations and is read on the radio
each year during Lent.
During the 19th century, a national revival was born
among Icelandic intellectuals in Copenhagen. Literary
production gained new momentum, and the rise continued
in the 20th century.
To begin with, many Icelanders wrote in Danish or
Norwegian to reach a larger Nordic audience. In
Icelandic, on the other hand, Halldór Laxness wrote
novels such as Salka Valka and Iceland's Clock, and he
received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1955. Among
recent authors are Friđa Sigurđadóttir, Einar Már
Guđmundsson, Gyrđir Elíasson and Sigurjón Birgir
Sigurđsson (Sjón), all of whom received the Nordic
Council Literature Prize.
Composer Jón Leifs became one of the Nordic region's
foremost composers in the 20th century, known among
other things for Hekla, a musical representation of a
volcanic eruption. Icelandic films have also attracted
attention with directors such as Hrafn Gunnlaugsson,
Friđrik Ţór Friđriksson, Dagur Kári and Baltasar
Iceland has a world famous modern cultural
personality in the singer, composer and actress Biörk
New catch quotas for selection
Minister of Fisheries Kristján Þór Júlíusson from the Independence Party
announces that Iceland will continue hunting for elections for the next five
years. The catch quotas will be 209 for herring whales and 217 for folding
whales. The government is divided on this issue. The Left-The Greens are
critical to continued election hunting, but the Conservative Independence Party
manages to push through its line with support from the Progress Party. Both
parties believe that the hunt takes place in a sustainable way and in line with
scientific recommendations, which is supported by a newly released research
report from the University of Iceland and the Institute of Marine Research.