28 March 2000: Media Agreement 2001 - 2004 concluded
"Today, the Government has signed a media agreement with the Centre Democrats (CD) and the Socialist People's Party (SF). The other parties involved the earlier media compromise will be invited to join this agreement for the next four years", according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Culture.
"Compared with the Government's original initiative, the following changes have been agreed:
The Government proposed that the fourth available radio station be assigned to TV2 and the fifth to DR. Instead, tenders will be invited for both radio stations.
The fourth radio station will be a mixed, service-oriented channel devoted to classical music, dance music, cultural and social programmes, and debates. Anyone can apply for the channel and it can be commercial. No news coverage requirement will be posed. This means, for instance, that the dailies can bid for the channel without being required to set up an alternative radio news bulletin. DR can also apply for the channel, but would not be allowed to fund it by advertising. The channel will be awarded on the basis of the quality of the overall range of programming. The decision is up to the Radio and TV Board.
With the exception of DR, anyone can apply for the fifth radio station. It is intended to be a broad-based commercial channel, and the only news coverage requirement will be on the level of radio news bulletins. The channel will be subject to Danish legislation, including Danish advertising regulations. The channel will be awarded to the bidder that tenders the most profitable bid. The profits will be passed on to non-commercial local radio and TV stations from 2003, and be used for public service purposes. This decision will also be up to the Radio and TV Board.
The proposal for commercial-free blocks of time five minutes before and five minutes after children's programmes has been modified to entail a ban on advertising that targets children and on commercials for children's products. The ban also applies to trailers linked to broadcasts that target children", states the press release.
Source: The Ministry of Culture
9 February 2000: No new Danish labelling scheme for computer games
"Minister of Culture Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen will follow a recommendation made by the Media Council for Children and Young People, entailing that Denmark should not introduce a special Danish labelling system for computer games. Instead, the European labelling scheme - ELSPA - should be expanded to also include Danish-made computer games", writes the Ministry of Culture in a press release.
"Under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, yesterday the Media Council for Children and Young People announced the results of re on the use of computer games by children and young people. The conclusion is that violent computer games are not as dangerous for children as previously feared. Children perceive computer games just like any other games, for example, Matador and other traditional games. Their choice of violent games should not be interpreted as indicative of any particular fascination with violence. It should be seen more in the context of the fact that children have always enjoyed wild, violent play.
According to the Media Council, the interaction involved in a computer game does not cause children to become more violent.
The Media Council is of the opinion that a new Danish labelling scheme would be extremely difficult to implement in practice, and that most games are already covered by the ELSPA scheme. The prudent thing to do would be to make people more familiar with that scheme.
Minister of Culture Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen is quoted in the press release as saying: "Since I myself have been concerned about the glut of violent computer games, the report is reassuring. However, I am still of the opinion that we should inform the public about unsuitable games and try to protect children from them. Having said that, I am confident that we can reach that goal by co-operating with the industry and the existing labelling scheme."
Source: The Ministry of Culture
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10 March 2000: Films for minors the only ones subject to scrutiny
According to a legislative bill, preliminary examination of films and other visual programmes should be limited exclusively to programmes distributed and shown publicly to minors. Programmes for minors will be examined, while other audio visual programmes only should be reported to the Finnish Board for Film Classification, states a press release issued by the Ministry of Education.
Source: The Ministry of Education
2 February 2000: Ministry of Transport and Communications consolidates its position in the modern information society
A press release dealing with the challenges facing the Ministry of Transport and Communications on the threshold of a new year states: "Digital TV and radio broadcasts will be initiated. Eight channels have been granted licences for digital television broadcasts. The first digital television broadcasts are expected to begin in the summer of 2000. The goal is for digital broadcasts to reach 70 per cent of the population of Finland by the end of 2001. The Minister's goal is to discontinue analogue television broadcasts by the end of 2006.
Thus far, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, YLE, is the only station engaged in digital radio operations. Licences for digital radio broadcasts are scheduled to be granted this spring.
Reforming communications legislation and promoting the development of electronic services
The Ministry of Transport and Communications plans to devote more attention to its role in relation to today's information society. The legislation governing communications networks is being amended to ensure that the same act will apply to communications in fixed, mobile and digital television networks. The regulations that apply to the use of networks will also be harmonised. Under by the new legislation, television network owners will all have equal obligations, regardless of which technology they use. For instance, owners of digital television networks will be forced to provide capacity for others as well.
The mass media and network communications will also attach importance to the content of communications. It is hoped that self-imposed controls within the industry will be sufficient to combat illegal, harmful content. The
Ministry of Transport and Communications would like to promote regular opportunities for business and industry to offer inexpensive, high-quality information services to users on equal terms. The Ministry is particularly interested in building up the public's confidence in information services and their ability to take advantage of the services.
The terms and conditions for e-commerce and Internet business must be created at the global level. The Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications advocates speed and efficiency in the European decision-making system and encourages legislators to keep pace with development trends.
Source: The Ministry of Transport and Communications
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23 March 2000: Icelandic version of Windows 98
An Icelandic version of Windows 98 is now available for sale in Iceland. This is the first time Microsoft software has been made available in the Icelandic language, reports the Daily News from Iceland. Until 15 May, Windows 98 is on sale at a bargain price, about USD 47.
Source: Daily News from Iceland
2 February 2000: The Icelandic Film Fund allocates financial support
Six films received pledges for production support in 2001, when the Icelandic Film Fund allocated MISK 137.8 (about MDKK 13.6) in financial support on 19 January this year. In addition, MISK116.3 (MDKK 11.9) was allocated to the production of six films this year, three of which were promised funding last year.
Pledges for production support in 2001 totalling MISK 12.2 (MDKK 1.3) were also made for five documentary and short films, and two documentary films and one cartoon are receiving support in 2000 pursuant to the pledges made last year. Ten parties were each granted ISK 300,000 (DKK 31,000) to prepare and develop manuscripts in 2000. Altogether, Icelandic film production support will amount to MISK 132 (MDKK 13.6) in 2000, while the pledges issued for film production support in 2001 add up to a total of MISK 150 (MDKK 15.5).
New website about Icelandic film production
In connection with announcing the production grants, the Minister of Education announced a new Internet website dedicated to Icelandic film production, http://www.icelandicfilms.com. The site will be used to build up a complete database of Icelandic films.
Speaking at the gathering to announce the allocation of support to new films, the director of the Film Fund mentioned the strong upsurge in Icelandic film production, referring to the new films currently showing at the cinema. He said that these are important films that have been praised by the critics and the public alike. More films are expected to be released in the weeks and months ahead, and a wave of Icelandic films will probably wash over the European Continent and other parts of the world later this year.
The director also mentioned that the Film Fund's financial base had recently improved considerably. Major changes have taken place in the Fund as a result of the agreement concluded in December 1998 between the Minister of Education, the Minister of Finance and representatives of Icelandic film production. The agreement entailed large increases in the allocation of funds from the State to the Film Fund.
Source: Ministry of Education and Culture
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14 April 2000: Broadband across the land - proposal for a national campaign
A report prepared by an inter-ministerial working group headed by Jørn Ringlund, assistant director at the Ministry of Communications, entitled " Broadband across the land - proposal for a national campaign " has been submitted to Terje Moe Gustavsen, Minister of Communications.
"All the country's primary, lower and upper secondary schools, public libraries, hospitals and municipal administrations will have the opportunity to be linked to a high-speed telecommunications network, the so-called broadband network, by the end of 2002", according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Communications.
"Over the next four years, the people of Norway will get the opportunity to join a broadband network and access broadband services at work, at school and at home, at reasonable prices", continues the press release.
Source: Ministry of Communications
6 April 2000: Digital TV test broadcasts this spring
"The first test broadcasts of digital TV transmitted through the terrestrial network will be initiated in May-June. The Mass Media Authority has decided that only NRK, TV 2 and local broadcasting stations will be allowed to participate", reports Aftenposten.
"Norwegian companies are the only ones licensed to broadcast on the terrestrial network, which is why these are the only stations that can take part during the trial period", remarks Head of Division Dag Løvdal of the Mass Media Authority to Aftenposten.
"Norkring, which will be developing the terrestrial network, plans to defy the Mass Media Authority's decision and try to include stations such as TVNorge, TV3, Canal+ and other foreign channels in the trial broadcasts.
"We expect to receive permission from the authorities", comments the managing director of Norkring, Svein R. Aarvik, to Aftenposten.
Director General Einar Førde is of the opinion that having many players involved would create problems for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), which requires plenty of room on the digital network. Førde tells Aftenposten that a combination of broadband and terrestrial networks would be the best solution for NRK.
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6 April 2000: Tightening up legislation against pirate decoders
"Riksdagen (the Swedish parliament) has accepted the Government's proposal for a new act banning certain decoding equipment. The law represents a tightening up of the regulations on decoding equipment used for unauthorised access to coded services, i.e. pirate decoders. The new act will enter into force on 1 May 2000", writes the Ministry of Culture in a press release.
"The new act makes virtually all commercial dealings in decoding equipment without the service provider's authorisation a crime. Decoding equipment is defined as all equipment or software designed or adapted to perform a service considered by the law to be available in a form that can be interpreted. The services covered by the act are radio and TV broadcasts in addition to services related to the information society.
Illegal dealings in decoding equipment can cause significant damage and lead to considerable expense for service providers. Such activities can even have adverse consequences on cultural life. The maximum punishment for this crime is therefore being raised from six months' imprisonment to a maximum of two years. The opportunities to institute legal proceedings are also being expanded. For example, it will be possible to bring indictments when a plaintiff reports a crime to the prosecution.
The perpetrator will have to pay fair damages for financial losses entailed by the crime.
The press release points out that the proposition "More protection for coded services" is available (in Swedish) on the Ministry of Culture's website.
Source: Ministry of Culture
3 April 2000: Broad-based campaign to promote IT and the Information Society for All
Minister of Trade and Industry Björn Rosengren has submitted a proposition from the government "... which enjoys broad-based support and specifies clear, concrete goals and priorities in terms of IT policy", according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
"The government proposes that the State's efforts be targeted at three areas for the purpose of creating an information society for all.
The three areas are: IT accessibility , IT confidence and IT expertise.
The State's investment in IT infrastructure will be boosted to approximately SEK 8.3 billion. The regulations that apply to this funding presuppose that the various market players are prepared to spend at least as much. This means the overall investment in broad-band will reach a level of about SEK 17 billion over a period of four years. This amount also includes a tax deduction incentive for people to join the broad-band network. State support should benefit regional networks and promote the broad-band network in sparsely populated areas. A total of SEK 5.8 billion will be allocated for the two measures. In addition, the Swedish power supply system is building up a mains based on market terms and conditions. It will cost an estimated SEK 2.5 billion to reach all municipal centres, states the press release issued by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Source: Ministry of Trade and Industry
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