Stockholm Jan 27th 2016 – The situation in Denmark
Public Service Hearing – Stockholm Jan 27th
2016 – The situation in Denmark
Lasse Jensen – b. 1946. Journalist.
Danish National News Agency 1968, Danish
Broadcasting 1970 foreign news reporter:
Biafra, Vietnam, Indo-Pak War, Wars in Central
America and Africa
Head of DR TV-News 1983-87
Bureau Chief, EBU New York 88-93
News and Programmes Executive TV2 and DR
Independent Producer from 1997
Editor/Host Media Magazine, DR Radio
Media Columnist ”Information” from 2007
Associate Professor, Journalism University Of
Member of Government Public Service
Committee from 2015
© Roald Als 1985
Danish Media Debate
The extremely short version
Denmark is not fundamentally different from other Nordic countries with regard to basic
structures for Public Service Media and Commercial media.
Unlike the rest of Scandinavia, the Danish debate is sharp, bordering the aggressive.
Trench Warfare with lots of noise,a few casualties but no new ground conquered by ither
Commercial media, spearheaded by Newspapers are demanding considerable changes
in regulation, scope and size of DR, the largest license-financed institution.
DR has responded with minor concessions but has generally remained royally aloof
attitude: “Business as usual”. The minister of Culture has asked both sides to engage in
a meaningful dialogue, so far in vain.
Public Service Broadcasting (DR & TV2) has increasingly become market oriented the
debate rages about “broad” or “narrow” PS-Broadcasting (“X-Factor or Mozart”)
Denmark is fundamentally different from other Nordic countries in having a governmentowned, commercially operated PS-station, TV 2, which– so far – has flown completely
under the radar in the debate over PSM.
NORTH KOREA ?
DANISH TV MARKET
DOMINATES MARKET WITH
DANISH RADIO MARKET (SHARE)
DR P7 MIX
Web usage Denmark
November 2015 Danske Medier Statistik
Page views Nov 2015
Who threatens who ?
t – Goo
3 MILL e approx 2,2 b
TAXES illion DKK
Danish Media Policy is regulated every 4 years. Present Media
Agreement among ALL political parties expires end of 2018.
Parliament formed independent expert committee (no reps
from PSB or private media) to map media landscape and
present media scenarios
Present Government is increasingly attentive to demands from
commercial sector, which include include downsizing DR, login on dr.dk, restrictions on webnews and more Public Value tests.
Also debate about license vs Subscription or direct tax-
financing. Flat fee media license seen as socially unfair
At the center of the debat - the main puzzle: What is Public
What is Public Service?
The definition is ultimately a political choice. The official brief to the PS
Committee from the Ministry of Culture states:
“Public Service Media has a very special role in contributing to the democratic
debate in Danish society and is – unlike other media – legally committed to
factuality and impartiality. The framework and demands to Public Service providers
are laid down in Law and Public Service Contracts. According to the Law, The total
Public Service output via tv, radio and internet must provide a broad offer of
programmes and services including news, information, education, art and
“In the new individualized and fragmented media reality viewing and listening is
spread over many channels and more and more choose on-demand
services….there is a need to decide how PS Media can or should help making
available and encourage viewing and listening of quality content not only on radio
and tv, but on all the platforms that the Danish population use in order for (the
Danes) to use and support a democratic debate, based on Danish values”
Is “Public Service for private money” a contradiction in terms? Has the PS
institutions become too big, too selfish, too arrogant? Should they be forced
to share? (archives, production facilities, external vs internal production etc)
Should “Public Service” just be replaced with “licens-financed services”?
Public Service and “Publicistik”
Public Service Media are today license-financed (DR, Radio 24syv, TV2-Regional
Stations) or state-owned, commercially financed media (TV 2). They are must be
independent and legally separated from direct government/parliamentary control
over content and management. Their services should be universally available to the
public. The definition of Public Service is, therefore, only valid for license-financed
media. TV 2 is no longer universally available, because they demand subscription
payment for viewing. Another contradiction..
The “private”/commercial media content can often be governed by “publicistik” (a
wonderful swedish ord, virtually intranslatable to English). The definition is much
broader than “public service” and contains not only journalism and public
information but also the general public conversation and debate in and about
society. Publicistik does not require impartiality, editorial independence, factuality
or fair and balanced output.
Public Service and “Private” Media have many roles in common, but Public Service
Media (=license financed) has a “higher” obligation to contribute to “the public
good” especially in areas where the market does not do it. And especially in
supporting the cohesiveness of the nation and the national language and at the same
time contributing to outward-looking awareness
The work of the PS-Committee in
Gather information and views from both Danish and
foreign studies, experts, Private Industry, PS
Broadcasters and others
Hold public hearings and collect views an analysis
from media players. Next hearing in March on
children, youth and media
Work on a contemporary definition of Public
Service Broadcasting in view of the changing
Assembling scenarios for the future (next ten years)