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Second quarterly edition 2002
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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 36 46 45                                 DK-1255 København K., Denmark

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



11 July 2002: The Ministry of Culture presents EU Presidency Programme

"In connection with the Danish Government's presentation of the overall programme for the Danish EU Presidency, the Danish Ministry of Culture has published its programme for meetings and seminars in the field of culture and sport until 31 December 2002," a press release from the Ministry (released 28 June) states.

According to the press release, "(the) Danish Presidency will ensure continued work on, among other things, the mobility of artists in Europe, continued dialogue on the directive 'TV without Frontiers' and place framework conditions for content production for the new interactive media on the agenda. The last topic will be discussed at a seminar of experts appointed by the Member States. The seminar takes place in Copenhagen on 21 23 July. The problems relating to the mobility of artists and the circulation of works will be discussed at a seminar of experts in Århus in September. The work is concluded with a Council meeting in Brussels on 11 November 2002".

11 July 2002, mr. Brian Mikkelsen, Minister of Culture, visited the European Parliament presenting the Presidency programme of the Ministry of Culture to the Committee on Culture, Youth, Education, the Media and Sport of the European Parliament.

In his speech, Brian Mikkelsen stressed that: "(If) we are to ensure cultural diversity and a coherent and integrated European market for interactive media and cultural products at the same time, it is necessary to focus on networking, competence development, access to venture capital and distribution of interactive media content.

Our objective is to introduce some thoughts and ideas for future action. I hope that by doing so we can inspire the Member States and the European Commission to develop these ideas into being of specific use for the business and for the European cultures."

Read the complete programme of the Ministry of Culture's EU Presidency activities (choose multilingual Word-document).

Source: The Ministry of Culture

4 June 2002: Media Agreement between the Government and Danish People's Party

"Quality, clarity and competition" is the motto for the new Media Agreement, which will secure that renewal and continued high quality are given a high priority in the future development of Danish radio and television, a press release from the Ministry of Culture states.

Mr. Brian Mikkelsen, Minister of Culture, is highly satisfied with the Agreement and the progress made in the talks preceding the conclusion of the Agreement, according to the press release. Mr. Mikkelsen describes the Agreement as having a broad foundation and being innovative, with many new elements.

Selling the television company TV 2 to private owners, with clauses to secure that the company's public service obligations are fullfilled, is one of many new elements in the Agreement. Other elements are the licensing of new radio channels and plans for a new terrestrial digital television net, built by private investors, with a must-carry clause to ensure the transmission of the public service channels.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

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3 May 2002: Copyright laws in information society reviewed

A committee set to deal with the copyright legislation review proposes that in the future, a copyright compensation, formerly known as a cassette fee, would be levied on tape recorders and other recording machines meant for private use. The fee would be included, for instance, in the price of tape recorders, videos and CD-ROM writers.

A proposal to extend the cassette fee is related to extensive amendments in copyright legislation. The committee further proposes that the circumvention of technical protection against illegal use or copying of works, as well as distribution of technologies capable of circumventing protection, would be criminalised. The goal is to prevent, for example, the illegal distribution of materials over the Internet. According to the report, a clear distinction would be made between the presentation or performance and the distribution or transmission: both would be enshrined in copyright legislation.

Thus, public performance would be restricted to a performance or presentation in front of an audience, whereas broadcasting in the radio, on TV or transmission over the Internet would qualify in the future as transmission protected by copyright legislation.

Source: The Ministry of Education

2 May 2002: Three new digital television programme licences will become open for application

The Ministry of Transport and Communications of Finland will declare three new national digital television programme licences open for applications. The licences will be primarily granted to theme channels that are of interest to the general public. The Ministry hopes that the programme licences would attract international interest, according to a press release

Three licences for television networks and two licences for radio networks will also become open for application. By granting these licences the Ministry wants to promote competition.

The fourth licence for digital television network will not at present be opened for application. It is reserved for future needs of data transmission that will be influenced, among other things, by the convergence of telecommunications and digital television technologies.

All licences will become open for application once Parliament has adopted the Communications Market Act.

The licences will be granted in the autumn of 2002.

In this connection the Ministry further states that government will not use tax money to support the acquiring of digital television receivers. Wider use of the receivers will not be encouraged by, for example, tax deductions either.

Television fees will not be raised during this parliamentary election period. The future Communications Market Act will significantly decrease (EUR 25 million) the operating licence fees of commercial television operators, but no other cuts seem likely during this election period.

The second stage of amendments to communications market legislation will commence by autumn 2002. The Ministry of Transport and Communications has prepared a draft legislative proposal, which the actors in the field are asked to comment by the end of May 2002.

Source: The Ministry of Transport and Communications

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11 July 2001: Icelandic cinema culture "at a crossroads"

The Icelanders are frequent cinema-goers, but the owners of the old-fashioned movie theaters cannot compete with the technically advanced theaters of today.

According to News from Iceland, "(Owners) of Sambíóin movie theaters have invited the public for free movies at Bíóborgin theatre, located on Snorrabraut in downtown Reykjavík. After today (11 July), owners have announced that the movie house would close down and the house will be sold.

Austurbæjarbíó (now Bíóborgin) began showing films in 1955, and from 1985 Árni Samúelsson has been the owner of the cinema. After the company Sambíóin took over the operation of Háskólabíó (University Theatre) last week, it was decided to close down Bíóborgin.

Samúelsson says in the daily Morgunbladid that today's Icelandic cinema culture is 'at a crossroads'.

'This is our good-bye day,' Samúelsson said with regret over having to shut down the theatre", writes Daily News from Iceland.

Source: Daily News from Iceland

13 May 2002: Strengthening the efforts to export popular music

The Icelandic Council of Export has arranged a seminar with the aim to discuss the prospects of increasing the export of Icelandic popular music. Among the foreign guests were Keith Harris, director of the British organisation for agents, Simon Young, deputy director of Sony Independent Network and Tam Coyle, musical export adviser to the Scottish government.

The Icelandic channel Rás 2 has recently produced 12 concerts with Icelandic bands, playing at the Airwaves festival in Reykjavik last October. The productions have been offered through EBU's (European Broadcasting Union) network, and will also be offered to 46 broadcasting companies in 29 countries outside the EBU sphere.

Source: The Ministry of Education

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28 June 2002: Invitation to tender - Digital terrestrial network for television broadcasting in Norway

After long discussions of the most preferable method to introduce digital television for all in Norway, the Government's choice is to invite tenders for the award of a licence to utilise capacity in a digital terrestrial network.

The responsible authorities are the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs.

"This invitation follows up the Norwegian Storting's (parliament) debate of Report no. 46 to the Storting (199899) Digital Television, Recommendation no. 53 to the Storting (19992000) in which it was resolved to facilitate the establishment of a terrestrial network for the distribution of digital terrestrial television (DTT) in Norway", the authorities states in the introduction to the invitation documents.

"The Storting also gave its support to the principles concerning the award of a licence to develop and operate a digital terrestrial television network in its debate of Report no. 57 to the Storting (20002001), Serving Freedom of Expression, and in the Minister of Culture and Church Affairs' oral report on the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) given on 28 February 2002", the authorities states.

Read the invitation to tender.

Source: The Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs

9 April 2002: Cable television company UPC gets criticism from state Consumer Council

UPC, a major cable television company, "(has) a virtual lock on the market in Oslo, delivering cable service to more than 200,000 households and also offering other telecommunications services. Formerly known as Janco cable, the company lately has had to fend off a rising storm of complaints", Aftenposten writes. .

"Norway's state Consumer Council is unleashing scathing criticism of major cable-TV firm UPC. The council has sent an unusually harsh letter to company officials, demanding they shape up", the newspaper continues.

"UPC has been the target of complaints for years, but the level and quantity has now reached record proportions. They're charged with everything from poor cable quality, inaccessibility, unresponsiveness and delays in providing promised service, to downright rude customer service representatives.

'We have never before come out with such hard criticism,' says Henny Width Kielland of the council (Forbrukerrådet). 'We want to see rapid improvement. We hope UPC will come to the table and work towards finding a solution,'" Aftenposten writes.

Source: Aftenposten

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11 June 2002: New profiles for public service channels SVT 1 and SVT 2

Despite new profiles for the public service television channels SVT1 and SVT2 in 2001, there is not much change in programming, if any, when it is seen as a whole. This is the conclusion of the Broadcasting Commission, a state authority which examines radio and television programmes in Sweden, in its annual report.

The report is the sixth in a row and is carried out by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Göteborg University.

"In the report eight channels are included, SVT 1, SVT 2, TV 3, TV 4, Kanal 5, TV 6, ZTV and TV 8," Dagens Nyheter/TT writes. "In contrast to the 1990's, when the programming was stable, the renewal of the public service channels SVT 1 and SVT 2 is rather unique, the report states.

SVT1 has been lifted out as a broad channel, containing much news and entertainment, whereas SVT 2 has become a more narrow and fact-oriented channel", Dagens Nyheter/TT writes.

Source: Dagens Nyheter/TT

19 April 2002: Development of digital radio hampered by several factors, report states

"The experiences of DAB in Sweden are limited. One obstacle has been the fact that only the public service broadcaster Swedish Radio (SR) has been broadcasting since 1995.

No private broadcasters have participated. Therefore digital radio has had limited programming, which for obvious reasons has led to low consumer interest", Henrik Selin writes in a report given to the Minister of Culture.

The report is to be followed by others on the same theme.

Mr. Selin further says that "(However), the range of Swedish digital radio broadcasts is probably of less importance for the development of DAB in a broader perspective. More important is the fact that DAB has been hindered by the lack of affordable receivers, which is the case also in other parts of the world.

Trials with digital radio is being carried out in many countries. The only countries that appear to be choosing other systems than Eureka 147 DAB are USA and Japan. Digital radio is, however, still in a very early stage of development.

There is no market where receivers have been bought by more than a few tens of thousands of people. More or less everywhere digital radio can be characterised as trials with limitations on coverage, limited number of broadcasters and often with temporary regulation.

The question of whether it will be possible to switch from analogue to digital radio in the future has not been given priority in any country.

Swedish broadcasters in principle support the introduction of digital terrestrial radio. For SR the interest lies mainly in the opportunity to widen the company's programming by using more channel space than in analogue radio.

SR also sees opportunities in increasing listener choice by developing new services. SR assumes that the company will be given extra resources both for distribution and for programming in digital radio", mr. Selin writes.

Read the summary of the report (*.pdf-file) in English.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

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15 April 2002: Nordic film prize - but probably for this year only

The Presidium of the Nordic Council has decided to award a Nordic Film Prize 2002. The DKK 350,000 prize will be awarded during the 50th anniversary Session of the Nordic Council in Helsinki, 29-31 October 2002. "It is good that a member's proposal from the Social Democratic group can become a reality so soon," says Åke Gustavsson, chair of the Nordic Council Culture and Education and Training Committee.

The prize will be awarded to a full-length feature, movie or documentary lasting at least 72 minutes and in 35 mm format. Nominated films must have held their premiere by September 2002.

The Nordic Council of Ministers has also appointed the members of the jury for the Nordic Film Prize 2002 and their stand-ins. Each of the five Nordic countries has one member and one stand-in in the jury, which consists of people working in the media sector, as critics or editors.

Source: The news service of the Nordic Council/Council of Ministers

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27 June 2002: Media regulation - an increasingly difficult task

"The European Council in Brussels recently published its position on the review of the 'Television without Frontiers' Directive (89/552/EEC) and proposed that a work programme be set up in order to prepare for the future amendment of the Directive", the European Audiovisual Observatory, EAO, states in a press release.

The Observatory continues: "(The) example of the 'Television without Frontiers' Directive illustrates how difficult it is, in a converging, increasingly global media landscape, firstly to assess the need for regulation and then to satisfy that need. Both in weighing up whether regulation is necessary at all and in considering what form it should take, self-regulation and co-regulation mechanisms are being brought into play as a kind of trump card. However, what actually lies behind these concepts, what role can they play and how would they fit into a future revision of the 'Television without Frontiers' Directive?"

The EAO states that: "(Contributing) to the current debate on the revision of the 'Television without Frontiers' Directive, the European Audiovisual Observatory has published a report on the aforementioned aspects of self-regulation and co-regulation as part of its IRIS Plus series. IRIS Plus: 'Co-Regulation of the Media in Europe: European Provisions for the Establishment of Co-regulation Frameworks' defines the notions of self-monitoring, self-regulation and co-regulation, which are often used almost interchangeably. It also deals with the conditions that have been laid down by the European Union and Council of Europe in connection with co-regulation as a form of control.

This report, which has been prepared for the Observatory by the Institute of European Media Law (EMR), also serves as a preparatory document for a Workshop on Co-Regulation of the Media in Europe (Florence, 6 and 7 September 2002). The Observatory will publish the results of this 'invitation-only' workshop in November, again as part of the IRIS Plus series", the EAO states in the press release.

Read the whole press release.

Source: The European Audiovisual Observatory

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