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Denmark/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.7 Mass media

According to the present Danish Broadcasting Act, all TV and radio-stations require a license or a registration by the Danish Radio and Television Board.

DR, TV 2 Danmark A/S and the regional TV2 stations are all part of the Danish public service radio and television. By living up to the public service requirements, they obtain access to the nationwide broadcasting net and – except TV 2 Danmark A/S – a share of the income from the license fees. DR and the regional TV 2 stations each have a public service contract with the Ministry of Culture. TV 2 / Danmark A/S is, apart from the general law on corporations, regulated by Act nr. 103 28 January 2010 and a specific public service permission. This permission is active until 31 December 2013, and only concerns the main channel, TV 2.

In the public service contracts / license, the TV and radio-stations commit themselves to provide the Danish public with a broad selection of programmes and services including news coverage, information, education, arts, culture and entertainment. They also commit themselves to quality, comprehensiveness and multiplicity, and in programme planning, they are obliged to consider freedom of speech and to aim at objectivity and impartiality. Moreover, the public service TV and radio stations are obliged to consider Danish language and Danish culture.

The public service broadcasters each have specific quotas for news coverage, Danish drama and programmes for children, which they are obliged to follow. The public service broadcasters are also obliged to broadcast programmes on arts and culture, but there are no specific quotas that they must adhere to.

There are no ownership regulations. Concerning quotas on the share of foreign programming, Danish broadcasters only have to adhere to the EU-directives relating to a certain quota for European programmes (see the EU audiovisual media service directive). There are no regulations concerning the share of Danish programmes that must be broadcast, although the public service contracts and licenses include the request for consideration of the Danish language and culture.

Every fourth year, the different parties of the Parliament enter into a media agreement regulating the media area, including the contents of the public service contracts and licenses.

The present law within the area (from May 2010), along with the recent Act from 26 August 2009, concern, amongst other things, changes in the must-carry rules and the licence charges, and an agreement for broadcasting on non-commercial TV.

Recent / impending amendments

  • In 2001, the Public Service Council was established, but was shut down again in 2002. The tasks of the council were then transferred to The Radio and Television Board, except the assignment of raising a debate about the purpose of public service, which had been one of the main tasks of the Public Service Council.
  • The Radio and Television Board was established in 2001 in accordance with § 33a in the Danish Broadcasting Act (lovbekendtgørelse nr. 701, 15 July 2001). The Radio and Television Board is an independent regulatory authority in charge of supervising the implementation of the Danish broadcasting legislation. The board has the following tasks: 1) to issue licenses to private national and local broadcasters, 2) to monitor whether private and public broadcasters are fulfilling their legal obligations and 3) to administer the grants for non-commercial local radio and television.
  • In 2002, two new, more or less nationwide, government allocated radio licenses were put on sale to ensure more competition (Law No 1052 of 17 December 2002).
  • In 2003, the public service contracts with DR and TV 2 were extended, with quantitative regulations on the content of their broadcasts.
  • Local radio and television boards were abolished in January 2006. The tasks were moved to the central Radio and Television Board.
  • By 2006, the funding for local radio and television was raised. This is contrary to the hitherto political decisions of lowering the funding.
  • The media agreement of 2006 also resulted in the founding of a Public Service Foundation, with a budget of 75 million DKK to be distributed during the following four years to television broadcasters not funded by license fees and with a household penetration of minimum 50%. The Danish Film Institute will distribute the money.
  • In the media agreement of 2006, it was determined that the next public service contract with DR shall oblige DR to provide news coverage in the most spoken foreign languages in Denmark. This is a reaction to the decision of DR to give up broadcasting news in foreign languages, which was part of their public service requirement to further integration and reflect on the diversity of the Danish public (see also chapter 5.1.9 on language laws).
  • The Radio and TV Law was amended (BEK nr. 5) on 5 January 2011, in order to facilitate the public procurement of the fourth FM channel (see chapter 4.2.6).

A departmental order on modernisation of license fees paid by viewers and listeners of Denmark Radio and TV (DR) (Bekendtgørelse nr. 210 of 4 March 2008) has been implemented by the Ministry of Culture.

In accordance with the Media Agreement, DR has launched two digital TV channels, one aimed at cultural material, and another aimed at children and young people. In addition, DR launched a channel that screens in HDTV format.

The new Media Agreement, for 2011-2014, focuses on quality and diversity. There are no plans to extend DR's supply of TV and radio channels, but rather to increase the quality of available channels. Included in these objectives is more focus on Danish art and culture and to play more Danish music on the radio channels (see more in chapter 4.2.6).

Chapter published: 10-04-2012

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