Can the public find out who owns the media through free access to the essential information required?

Despite the 2011 amendments to the Media Law, which covers print, broadcast and online media, it remains impossible to identify ownership of any media in Iceland through media-specific or company law.

Although the amended Media Law requires disclosure of the immediate ownership of media organisations, much of the basic information required to establish ultimate ownership and control does not have to be disclosed – ie the size of shareholdings or those with indirect control, significant interests or beneficial ownership.

The various corporate laws partially mitigate this situation by requiring disclosure of the size of shareholdings but this only applies only for media which are registered companies – any media outlets that are not companies are not covered. The corporate laws also do not reveal those with indirect control, significant interest or beneficial ownership of a media outlet so this information is unavailable to the public in Iceland. Furthermore, the prohibitive cost of accessing corporate information means that most people would be disinclined to seek the information.

DRAFT – FOR PUBLIC CONSULTATION: This research has been carried out by national experts and is open for consultation. Please let us know if you have any suggestions, or if you spot any errors or omissions by emailing

TMO Iceland


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Relevant Laws:

Iceland Media Act

Law on Corporate Registry (in Icelandic)

Law on Corporations (in Icelandic)

Law on Private Limited Liability Companies (in Icelandic)

Law on self-owning entities which operate on a commercial basis (in Icelandic)

Broadcasting Act

Law on Printing

Post and Telecommunications law

Law on public (criminal) cases

Law on corporate registry

Regulation 162/2006