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Second quarterly edition 2003
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  Welcome to Nordic Media

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 Per Unckel
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.



26 June 2003: Murdoch-owned company buys nationwide radio channel

"Skyradio, a Dutch corporation part of the Murdoch media empire, submitted the highest bid at the Ministry of Culture's auction on June 18, 2003", writes News from Denmark, published on the net by the Royal Danish Embassy, Washington, D.C.

"For 8 million dollars Skyradio bought the fifth nationwide radio channel in Denmark, outbidding over seven other companies. The first four nationwide radio channels are licensed to Danish Radio, which means that a monopoly has been broken on the radio front. The Ministry of Culture has set up a set of rules for the fifth radio channel to guarantee public service.

The new radio channel needs to air 1000 hours of news a year and a one-hour debate-program every day as well. However, Skyradio, who already runs a regional radio channel in Denmark, have said that they will primarily concentrate on music and buy the news from newspapers and agencies instead of setting up their own news desk and hiring journalists.

The Minister of Culture has said that he will of course keep an 'ear' on the new channel and take away their license if they do not fulfill the demands. A sixth radio channel was won by another Dutch company, Talpa, which bid 3,5 million dollars."

Source: News from Denmark/Royal Danish Embassy, Washington, D.C

28 May 2003: TV 2 to be privatized, says parliament majority

The Ministry of Culture states in a press release that the Danish parliament has voted in favour of making TV 2 a limited company. TV 2 is a public service channel, partly financed by the license fee, partly by income from advertising.

The parliamentary decision to start the privatizing process was partly due to the conclusions in two reports from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Danske Bank. The reports state that privatization might strengthen the prospects for the channel to prosper in the Danish media market.

A privatized TV 2 is obliged to follow a set of rules with reference to news, children programmes and Danish films and television series.

The process incorporating the selling of TV 2 is continuing in the fall, and will be coordinated by a steering group where the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Finance are represented.

The Minister of Culture, Mr. Brian Mikkelsen, will continuously keep the Cultural Committee of the Danish parliament updated, as the process develops towards completion of a sale.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

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26 June 2003: TV companies agree on expansion of digital terrestrial television

In 2004, digital television services will be available almost everywhere in Finland. The coverage of the digital terrestrial network will be about 94 percent of Finns.

Television companies, YLE, MTV3 and Channel Four Finland are accelerating the development of the digital television and have now decided upon the expansion of the digital terrestrial network. YLE's coverage area will be expanded to 12 new television stations. MTV3 and Channel Four Finland will expand to 13 new television stations. The possibility of satellite distribution will also be looked into.

The expansion of the television network will provide new channels for viewing. Up to now, three national television channels have been distributed using the terrestrial television network.

Along with digital television, the following YLE channels will be available: TV1, TV2, YLE24, YLE Teema and FST. In addition to this, the supply includes MTV3, SubTV, Sports Channel and Channel Four Finland, as well as their parallel channels. In addition to the channels, the digital television already includes several additional services, among others, programme guide, super-text television, and many channel-specific additional services. These services are accessible via MHP (Multimedia Home Platform) compatible receivers.

At the moment, the digital television network covers about 74 percent of the population, and ten television stations broadcast programmes digitally.

Source: YLE Internation Communications

8 May 2003: Fibre optic cable network coverage is very extensive in both Finland and Sweden

In Sweden, all 289 municipalities are covered by fibre optic cable networks, while in Finland they cover 95% of the 448 municipalities. Due to state subsidies, alternative or secondary Wide Area Network offering is more extensive in Sweden. Finnish monthly fees for ADSL subscriptions have been higher than the Swedish ones, but the gap is narrowing.

Most Finnish cities and towns have already access to high capacity fibre optic cables. On the basis of an operator survey, around 98% of the population live within a few kilometre distance from a fibre optic cable. A part of the remaining 2% live in areas where backbone and regional networks are based on high capacity radio links. Only a few remote, sparsely populated municipalities and built-up areas do not have access to fibre optic cables.

Source: The Ministry of Transport and Communications

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22 May 2003: Icelandic children consider themselves to be able Internet users

"Icelandic children rarely tell their parents about their Internet experiences", writes Daily News from Iceland, quoting the the SAFT (Safety, Awareness Facts and Tools) project.

"More than 50 per cent of children in the age group nine to 16 consider themselves able to use the Internet without their parents knowing about it. These are the results of re conducted among 10,000 children and parents in five countries, carried out for the SAFT project.

The re company MMI in Norway did the re for the SAFT project, which is a re and educational project on safe Internet usage, supported by the EU. Seven institutions from five countries - Denmark, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - took part in the project.

The re conclusions show that 100 per cent of Icelandic children in the age group nine to 16 have used computers. More than half of them said they have had the opportunity to surf the Internet without their parents knowing about it. The children also state they know much more about the Internet than their parents. In general, children are more open to speaking about their Internet experiences with their mothers. Icelandic children speak less about their experiences than children in comparable groups.

The re is said to confirm that there is a difference in what children do on the Internet and what their parents think they do. According to Björn Kvernberg, manager of MMI, Norway, children are, in general, very confident when using the Internet and quite aware of the dangers on the Net.

In the re, 87 per cent of the parents said they sit with their children while surfing the Internet, but only 22 per cent of the children said this is true. The conclusion is that children believe their parents are not monitoring their Internet usage.

Of Icelandic children, 66 per cent say they use online chat rooms and 41 per cent say they have been asked to meet a person they have met on the Internet. Out of the children who chat, 21 per cent have actually met a person they from the Internet, while at the same time only four per cent of the parents know they have. Only 47 per cent of the children took a friend with them on such a meeting. Most children know not to give out personal information, but the conclusions show that children are more willing to do so than their parents believe. More than 33 per cent of the children trust all the information they find on the Internet.

Over 49 per cent of children who use the Internet have either on purpose or accidentally visited pornographic web sites. One out of four have retrieved pornographic material from the Net. Over 33 per cent have visited violent web sites, while only 14 per cent of parents knew they had", Daily News from Iceland writes.

Source: Daily News from Iceland/SAFT

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27 June 2003: Digital terrestrial network for television broadcasting

The creation of a nationwide digital terrestrial network for television is important, but the development must be carried out in a way that takes care of the viewer's rights and interests, the government concludes in a White Paper to the parliament.

The White Paper underlines that a development on a commercial basis, a premise set by the parliament, means that analog broadcasting has to be brought to an end as soon as possible. The only applicant for a license to utilize capacity in a digital terrestrial network for television broadcasting in Norway was Norges televisjon AS.

The company is jointly owned by Norsk rikskringkasting, NRK, and TV2, the only television companies covering all of Norway. Norges televisjon stated in its application from October 2002 that it wants to bring the analog broadcasts to an end by 2007.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs is jointly acting as licensing authority for the digital television license, which was announced in June 2002.

On the basis of the discussion in the White Paper, the government invites the parliament to take a decision, providing that the following criteria are met:

- The whole of the Norwegian population must be offered digital broadcasting
- The switch-over to digital broadcasting must represent an added value to the viewers, and the programs from the public broadcaster NRK must be free for all
- The necessary receiving equipment must not be too costly for the viewers
- The public must have a real access to receiving equipment and technical assistance
- The use of the digital channels in a case of national emergency must be secured
- The needs of the local television channels must be taken care of, and there must be facilities for the creation of an "open channel"

The Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs has considered Norges televisjon's economic foundation as satisfactory, and the company's administrative resources as adequate for the completion of a the digital broadcasting project. As a result of this the Ministry concludes that the license is to be granted to the company, supposing that it accepts the criteria already mentioned.

Source: The Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs

19 May 2003: A gift from Norway dedicated to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

On May 19th, the Norwegian Minister of Culture and Church Affairs, Mrs. Valgerd Svarstad Haugland, presented the bibliographic database and web site "Beacon for Freedom of Expression" to the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a press release from the Ministry states.

The Minister said on the occasion: "It is with great pleasure and a feeling of awe that the Norwegian government presents the database and web-site 'Beacon For Freedom of Expression' as a gift from Norway to the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

The occasion is awe-inspiring both for historical and for political reasons. Firstly, these newly erected walls symbolize the revitalized spirit of human cognitive endeavour. Thus, one can imagine twenty-five centuries of knowledge looking down upon us with the confident expectation that we and future generations maintain our quest for learning and understanding. Secondly, the very existence of this library signifies the persevering appreciation of free access to and interchange of ideas and systematic thought in any direction and subject. Knowledge and free exchange of ideas are cornerstones of any democratic civilization. Censorship and the surpression of thought and speech will always be detrimental to human development.

The city of Alexandria was once known not only for its library, but also for its wonderous lighthouse, the Pharos with its beacon, guiding seafarers of all nations to a safe haven. The library has been resurrected and will be an international center for re and documentation. It is my hope that the Norwegian gift will help restore a lighthouse for the purposes of a new millennium, that the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina may become a Beacon for Freedom of Expression."

Source: The Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs

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19 June 2003: Conditions for non-commercial radio and television to be analyzed

The Ministry of Culture has decided that it wants an analysis of the prospects for the future of local non-commercial radio and television. The analysis, carried out by Christer Hederström, is to be finalized by 16 August 2004, a press release from the Ministry states.

The Radio and TV Authority has already, on the Ministry's initiative, published an analysis of possible and desirable changes in regulations, meant to counteract the commercialization of local radio.

The report from the Authority was published in April 2003, and one of the conclusions was that local radio channels ought to show that their local foundation is satisfactory, before being granted a license. The Ministry expects comments on the report to be given before 1 October 2003.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

28 May 2003: Analog terrestrial TV broadcasting to be terminated by 2008

1 February 2008 is the date decided by the parliament for the termination of analog terrestrial TV broadcasting.

In a proposition given to the parliament in March 2003 the Ministry of Culture stated that at least eight digital television channels must have a national coverage. The digital networks will be developed continuously, while gradually replacing the analog transmissions, which will come to an end no later than 1 October, 2007, the Ministry said.

In addition to changing the date for the termination of analog terrestrial broadcasting, the parliament also sent the proposition back to the Ministry, demanding that it should return to the parliament with a more detailed proposition.

The development of the terrestrial networks and questions regarding licensing, were among the changes mentioned by the parliament, Svenska Dagbladet/TT reports.

The parliamentary committee responsible for dealing with the proposition expressed the need for more detailed discussions of marketing perspectives and consumer's issues. Viewers who, for example, only want to watch public service channels, should not have to pay for special subscription services.

Source: Svenska Dagbladet/TT

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1 July 2003: Public consultation on the new generation of programmes for the European audiovisual industry

A public consultation on the new generation of programmes for the European audiovisual industry was held 1-2 July, the European Commission states in a press release.

The hearing was organised by the European Commissioner for Culture and Audiovisual Media, Viviane Reding. This hearing provided the opportunity for all interested parties to participate in the public consultation on the follow-up to the MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training Programmes.

The public consultation, based on the actions under the existing programmes and a series of questionnaires, is due to end on 12 August. The Commission will be publishing a Communication on the future of audiovisual policy, including the future of the MEDIA programmes, based on the results of this public consultation, at the end of 2003 or the beginning of 2004, according to the press release.

Source: The Commission Press Room

28 May 2003: BNS expands operations in Estonia

Baltic News Service (BNS), which is owned by Alma Media's Business Information Group, is expanding its operations in Estonia, Alma Media states.

The leading news office in the Baltic countries announced that it had acquired the media monitoring operations of the media company Corpore. The parties are not announcing the price of the transaction. The acquired business will increase BNS's net sales this year by some EUR 150 000.

BNS will launch media services under the ETA-Monitooring name. The BNS subsidiary will look for market growth through new, tailored customer solutions, such as monitoring the competitors in individual sectors, limited market analyses and various online databanks.

Through this transaction BNS is following its strategy and expanding into business areas that complement its conventional news office services. The biggest competitor of ETA-Monitooring is Observer Eesti.

Source: Alma Media

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