Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugson says that RÚV’s recent coverage regarding payments he made to PR executive Viðar Garðarsson was intentionally misleading and that he’s being unfairly targeted by the agency, Kjarninn reports.
Earlier this week, in an article entitled “Paid For An Endorsement Website,” RÚV reported that the former Prime Minister and current chairman of the Center Party paid Viðar over ISK 1 million (USD 10,000/EUR 8,000) to set up websites in support of him and gather information on journalists criticizing him. The article also discussed case files that show that Viðar set up the websites panamaskjolin.is and islandiallt.is on Sigmundur Davíð’s behalf. It went on to explain that Viðar is also in charge of media website veggurinn.is, which was set up shortly after the release of the Panama Papers, in which Sigmundur Davíð’s name appeared. The site has since published articles both in support of Sigmundur Davíð and criticizing his opponents.
Sigmundur Davíð denied the report in a post on his Facebook page. “Same old, same old,” read the post. “They intentionally used a misleading title and, in addition, it’s suggested in the article that I paid for the maintenance of vegurinn.is...I had nothing to do with the establishment of the veggurinn.is website and never offered to pay for it or for news on it, and nor was I asked to.”
He did, however, affirm that he’d established the panamaskjolin.is website, saying that he’d mentioned this “many times before,” and that he did so to share “all the information and answers to all the questions about this issue (because RÚV didn’t do that). This is an unrelated issue.”
“A lot of interesting things have come forth in the hearings on this issue, but they don’t seem to be of any interest to my ‘fan club,’ which has hung a target with my face on it on the wall of the newsroom.”