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Third quarterly edition 2001
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The quarterly editions of Nordic Media, from 1994 onwards, are available on the net. Nordic Media is a summary of the contents of Medier i Norden: Resymé (Scandinavian languages news bulletin).

Nordic Media may be quoted, provided the source is clearly stated.

  Editor                                                      Publisher
Terje Flisen (TF)                                        Secretary General Søren Christensen
Postboks 1726 Vika                                  Nordic Council of Ministers,
0121 Oslo, Norge                                      Store Strandstræde 18
Tel. + 47 22 20 80 61                                 DK-1255 København K., Denmark

Nordic Media (previously Nordic Media News) ISSN 1396-934X – electronic edition.



24 September 2001: New Internet portal opens up Danish re libraries

"A very exciting project, co-ordinated by the Ministry of Culture. A project that we all hope will be of far reaching importance for science in Denmark. But it is also a project which will imply much for Danish cultural life as a whole", acting Minister of Culture, Mr. Johannes Lebech said, while opening the portal

Mr. Lebech pointed out that the Internet seemingly contains vast quantities of knowledge, but that it is hard to determine the quality of the findings. The Danish re libraries can offer a co-ordinated development of Internet-based sources of knowledge - of high and consistent quality.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

22 August 2001: Digitalisation of content secures better accessibility for all to the Danish cultural heritage

"Culture through broad band" ("Kultur til bredbånd") is the title of the Danish Governement’s plan for digitalisation of the cultural sector.

The efforts to preserve the cultural heritage is to be strengthened, while at the same time improving the accessibility to it - for all. "The main requirement to get more Danes to utilise the Internet, is to make certain that more quality content of Danish origin is available. The cultural heritage, in a very broad context, is to be a driving force behind the involvement of still more Danes in Internet activities. New competence in making the most of new technology is of utmost importance", the Minister of Culture, Ms. Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen says, according to a press release.

The new plan also contains 16 concrete initiatives aimed at a general improvement of the field of information technology. Among them are support for a Danish structure for development of computer games and the successful marketing and sale of music via the Internet.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

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10 October 2001: Digital newspaper printing trials make progress

"Alma Media’s ’northern’ provincial newspapers Kainuun Sanomat, Lapin Kansa and Pohjolan Sanomat are being printed digitally and distributed in Helsinki in a six-month trial project covering one hundred subscribers", according to a press release.

"The trial started on 1 October and will end on 31 March, during which time the subscribers will receive their papers every day. The project includes participation by Atkos, UPM-Kymmene, Metso Paper, Finland Post and Man-Roland Finland.

The primary objective of the digital printing project is to establish if there is sufficient business potential in the Helsinki metropolitan area for digital printing of the provincial newspapers. This would require an optimized production and logistical process from editing to the digital printing plant, and from the plant to the newspapers’ subscribers.

The project involves printing certain of Alma Media’s provincial newspapers six days a week for six months at the Atkos printing centre in Vantaa. Without digital printing these newspapers would not reach their subscribers until the following day. The newspapers have been chosen to ensure optimum transport and distribution in postal codes in the centre of Helsinki.

’In the future digital printing capacity can be used for example to print newspapers delivered to airports, or for local printing of domestic and foreign newspapers if such a decentralized model can be made cost-effective,’ said Ms Maija-Liisa Pennanen, circulation director of Alma Media’s Alpress business area.

In a six-month pilot project extending from September last year to February this year, Alma Media digitally printed the Saariselkä edition of its Lapin Kansa newspaper in Lapland. During that period the newspaper was printed throughout in four colours for 70 subscribers in the area", according to the press release.

Source: Alma Media Corporation

27 August 2001: Launch of digital television broadcasting

"The future of television will be digital", the Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland, Olli-Pekka Heinonen, says in a press release in connection with the official launch of Finnish digital television broadcasting 27 August.

"Not all the parts of TV digitalisation have yet found their right place", the minister continues. "Particularly equipment that is needed in interactive services has not yet been introduced. Nevertheless, digital television is not just a trend but a long-term process that reaches the structures of television broadcasting. Today, we are taking the first steps on this road.

Pessimism that is common in the IT sector today is spreading to digital television. Therefore, already this autumn the Finnish government intends to submit a proposal – in order to alleviate the IT sector’s current cyclical developments – for a communications market act, which will create better opportunities for television broadcasting.

In Finland, we wanted to give the operators a chance to enter into digital programming comparatively early, although somewhat after Sweden and England. After all, the state does have the duty to provide an arena for business and industry. But it is of course the enterprises themselves that make a judgement of when to start offering new services. If an operator does not want to make a start at this stage or chooses to take careful steps, it is not a reason to dramatise the situation. Of course, the licence authority wishes that all the risks would be carefully weighed already during the application process, since applications were also rejected.

Even though digital television will not set off with an explosion of new services, the original line of reasoning still applies. The digital television network is a good and cost-effective way to distribute the services of the information society to every household, including those where reception circumstances are not very good. It is a democratic and regionally balanced distribution channel.

Before long, the viewers will find more profit and pleasure in the new phase of television broadcasting. However, it will take time before anyone has to react to digital TV and I believe that once the programme supply is comprehensive, people will find their own programmes and services.

Digital technology is a way to save frequencies, which, beside communications, are needed in several sectors of the information society: from medicine to transport. It is also important to remember that communication networks can only work together, if they all are digital. After that the formerly diverse media will converge into an entity, which can be utilised in the best possible way.

The Finnish Broadcasting Company, YLE, and licence-holders have chosen the right way in aiming at a technologically ambitious and open system, which will enable the future provision of so-called new services. An open, technologically advanced distribution system is a basic requirement for Finnish communication enterprises to be able to really produce content services and not just pack and transmit foreign content products.

In the light of the present knowledge, it seems that it was a wise decision to select the MHP standard, which was created through voluntary cooperation within the European industry, as the basis for the system. The chosen standard gives the Finnish communication and IT enterprises an edge over others to develop business and new services. I hope that they will seize this opportunity.

Finnish communications has an established tradition of both content and IT know-how. With the help of digital television these two can be combined. Quite evidently, Finland, as the model country in telecommunications, is expected to show new, innovative solutions also in digital television broadcasting".

Source: Ministry of Transport and Communications

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6 September 2001: 49 per cent of the shares in the Icelandic telecommunication company Landssíminn to be sold

The state owned telecommunication company Landssíminn has announced that 49 per cent of the shares are to be sold before the end of this year, Daily News from Iceland writes, quoting the newspaper Morgunblaðið.

The lowest sales price of stocks will be 5,75 ISK , equivalent to 0,05 USD, Daily News from Iceland writes.

The company is, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers of London, worth 40,6 billion ISK or 406 million USD.

Morgunblaðið writes, according to Daily News from Iceland, that some financial advisers and opposition member in the Icelandic Parliament are of the opinion that the estimated price is unrealistically high.

Source: Daily News from Iceland

10 August 2001: Partial privatisation of state owned RÚV?

The Minister of Education, Mr. Björn Bjarnason, has according to Daily News from Iceland proposed that the effects of a partial privatisation of Iceland’s public service broadcasting company, RÚV, should be taken into serious consideration.

RÚV ought to be organised as a stock company, according to Mr. Bjarnason’s statements while participating in a Nordic conference on media re, held in Reykjavik.

Mr. Bjarnason pointed out that public service companies in the Nordic countries are companies in their own right, and that the same organisational arrangements should apply to RÚV.

Source: Daily News from Iceland

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28 September 2001: The outgoing Ministry promised to maintain subsidies for the press

Support for the press was a central theme when the Minister of Cultural Affairs, Ms. Ellen Horn, put forward the outgoing Labour Ministry's White paper to the Parliament on media policy; "I ytringsfrihetens tjeneste"; "At the service of freedom of speech". The Minister of Cultural Affairs mentioned that Norwegians are among the world's most keen newspaper readers, and that the Government wanted this to continue.

"We want to increase the support for the press to a higher level, and particularly secure a rise for the smallest newspapers", the Minister said, according to a press release from the Ministry. “We also propose an arrangement supporting the founding of new newspapers, and the papers should still get an exemption from value added tax", she continued.

"The White paper from the Ministry to the Parliament follows up the the report from the Newspaper committee (Dagspresseutvalget) which discussed questions related to ownership in the media, and the challenges facing Norsk rikskringkasting, NRK, the state owned public service broadcaster, in view of the digital development.

The aim is to control ownership in media to secure pluralism and diversity. The Government does not propose any changes regarding the control mechanisms at a national level, but it is of the opinion that the matter should be discussed more freely.

The Government wants to have the principles in Redaktørplakaten (internal guide lines for the press) established by law, if the Parliament during the next session adopts a new section in the Constitution, making an opening for this", the Ministry states in its press release.

The Labour Government handed over power to a centre/right coalition 19 October 2001, not being able to find a majority in the Parliament after a heavy loss in the general election in mid September. It remains to be seen whether the proposals in the White paper will be supported by the newly constituted Parliament. (Ed. comment).

Source: The Ministry of Cultural Affairs

24 September 2001: Television programmes which may be harmful to children must not be broadcasted before 9 PM

The so-called “watershed" principle, that television programmes which may be harmful to children must not be broadcasted before 9 PM, is established by law, as from 1 October 2001, according to a press release from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

The broadcasting regulations has been changed, in connection with the work going on in Norway to harmonize broadcasting law in accordance with the European Union television directive, an integral part of the European Economic Agreement.

The prohibition of programmes according to the watershed principle does not apply to news and current interest programmes.

A general prohibition is maintained for programmes which to a high degree may harm the physical, psychic and moral development of minors. Programmes containing illegal pornography and extreme violence will normally be subjected to the penal code.

The regulations are to be enforced by the Mass Media Authority.

Source: The Ministry of Cultural Affairs

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27 September 2001: Sweden's Government is honoured by American organisation for its work against commercial exploitation of children

The Swedish Embassy in Washington has accepted a prize on behalf of the Swedish Goverment, for its work within the European Union against commercial exploitation of children, according to a press release from the Ministry of Culture.

During the Swedish EU-presidency (January – July 2001) the Swedish Government worked diligently to make its view on television commercial targeted at children accepted and adopted by the other EU-countries.

The giver of the prize is SCEC (Stop Commercial Exploitation of Children), an American umbrella organisation for a number of small associations within the field of child and health care and educational zone.

“To promote and protect the rights of children, including the right not to be exploited, is an important part of the work of this Government. It feels very nice that this work has been appreciated", the two Ministers Ingela Thalén (Minister for Social Security) and Marita Ulvskog (Minister of Culture) said when being told of the prize, according to the press release.

Read more about the Swedish EU presidency's work.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

20 September 2001: Culture budget proposals: Preservation centre for documentaries and further development of the press support

The Government's culture budget is to be increased by SEK 200 million, in addition to the usual price index regulation, the Ministry of Culture says in its proposal to the Parliament. The proposal are supported by the the parties constituting the parliamentary support for the Government.

Lower value added tax for books and magazines, and efforts to stimulate children and young people to read more, are among the propositions.

The Ministry also wants to establish a permanent preservation centre for non-fiction films in Grängesberg. A SEK 15 million support for development aid for newspapers and the same amount to improve the possibilities to distribute newspapers on Saturdays in the less populated regions of Sweden, are among the new propositions for 2002.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

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17 October 2001: Nordic countries may join forces in funding digital content production

Finnish Minister of Culture, Suvi Lindén, announced in her opening speech at the Norden Digitalt conference, (15 – 16. October) Finland's proposal on establishing a Nordic fund for digital content production, according to a press release from the Finnish Ministry of Education.

The Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Cultural Fund have, for the past few years, funded individual digital projects. Lindén finds that such funding should be made more systematic.

A joint Nordic funding mechanism could generate a Nordic market for digital production. Contacts between Nordic companies and professionals would create an expanding platform for production and could increase international competitiveness, Lindén points out.

Lindén also reminded that in language areas the size of those in Nordic countries, public investments have always been required for projects of this magnitude. Lindén went on to stress that the possible Nordic co-operation ensuing from this proposal should be integrated into larger European networks.

Source: The Finnish Ministry of Education

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