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Third 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.



15 September 2003: All public service channels to be transmitted digitally

1 July 2005, at the latest, all Danish households will be able to receive the public service channel DR2 digitally via an ordinary antenna and a cheap set-top-box, according to the newsletter of the Danish public service broadcaster DR, Danmarks Radio.

Today, quite a few of the Danish households do not receive the broadcaster’s second channel, DR2.

In a press release, the Danish Ministry of Culture announces that an addition to the agreement between the Government and the public service broadcasters DR and TV 2 has been agreed upon; regarding digital terrestrial television (DTT). The new agreement means that in a few years time, all viewers will receive all the public service channels digitally, without having to resort to expensive equipment at the receiving end.

Earlier, the intention was to introduce DTT at a grander scale, giving a commercial operator the responsibility for transmissions. Now the public service companies will have to cooperate, to build the net necessary for transmissions and administrate the transmission capacity themselves. The companies are obliged to develop new programmes and services based on digigital technology, for instance advanced teletext and interpretations for the hard of hearing people via sign language.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

10 September 2003: Danish films strong at the box office during first half of 2003

Two million cinema-goers saw Danish films during the first six months of 2003 compared to 1.3 million in the same period 2002, announces a press release from the Danish Film Institute.

On an average, Danish films were seen by twice as many cinema-goers as a US-made film during the first half year 2003: Thirteen Danish feature films were released, the average number of tickets sold per film was 156,000, while the corresponding figures for US films were 50 releases, 3.4 million cinema-goers, and an average number of admissions of 68,000 per film.

In comparison to the same period in 2002 the total number of admissions increased by 1 percent to 6.3 million tickets in 2003 with a national market share of 32 percent. The top box-office draws were "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" (581,000) and the James Bond film "Die Another Day" (458,000). These films were followed by Danish titles: Per Fly and Zentropa's "The Inheritance" (369,000) and Charlotte Sachs Bostrup and Grasten's "Anja After Viktor" (339,000) which edged out US-made "The Matrix: Reloaded" (318,000), while Anders Thomas Jensen and M&M's "The Green Butchers" (223,000) preceded US-made "X-Men 2".

Another five Danish films, each with admissions over 100,000, appeared among the top-twenty chart for the first half year 2003: Morten Arnfred and Nordisk Film's "Move Me", Natasha Arthy and Nimbus Film's "Old, New, Borrowed and Blue", Charlotte Sachs Bostrup and Grasten's "Cinder Rock'n Rella", Henrik Ruben Genz and Nordisk Film's "Someone Like Hodder" as well as Carsten Myllerup and Cosmo's "Midsummer".

National titles are also doing well in other media: The latest weekly figures for video and DVD rentals in Denmark show that three Danish films, "Inheritance", "Old, New, Borrowed and Blue" and "Midsummer", are among the top five favourites.

All figures are based on the half-year report from Statistics Denmark.

See also current admission figures for national films in Denmark.

Source: The Danish Film Institute

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21 October 2003: A new Act to clear confidentiality and responsibilities in electronic communications

A new Finnish Act on privacy in electronic communications will improve confidentiality, protection of privacy and information security in electronic communications, according to the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

It will promote the development of electronic communication services and clear the responsibilities of telecommunication operators and other service providers in terms of confidentiality in communications. The Act will be an important instrument in the promotion of information society development.

The Finnish Government reached a decision on the content of the Act on 15 October 2003. The President of the Republic was later to submit the legislative proposal to Parliament.

The Act would make clearer the processing of identification data that can be connected to subscribers or users of communication services. The identification data reveal callers, senders and receivers of SMS messages as well as the Internet pages the users have browsed. According to the legislative proposal, the processing rights and duties related to the identification data would apply, in addition to telecommunications operators, to corporate subscribers. In other words, they would, for example, apply to such corporations, universities and housing associations that process confidential messages, or identification or location data of individual users. Telecommunications operators would be obliged to store the access data related to the process of identification for a period of two years.

The proposal includes new provisions on the processing of data used in location services. Mobile phone data that enable positioning could be utilised for commercial purposes only with the prior consent of the person being located. In accordance with the proposal, the processing of the location data would require a service-specific consent from the person being located.

According to the proposal, parents would make decisions concerning the processing of location data of their children under 15 years of age, unless the consent to positioning would, in practice, be solely governed by the mobile phone of the person being located. Provisions of emergency positioning would not be changed, i.e. an emergency authority would continue to receive location data, if needed, a press release from the Ministry of Transport and Communications announces.

Source: The Ministry of Transport and Communications

30 September 2003: YLE Television invests in information

Finnish television channels now clearly specialise in either entertainment or information. Finnish television output is still broadly comprehensive, even though the commercial channels are continuing to stake more and more on entertainment. This is the conclusion of the annual report on programmes in 2002 by the Ministry of Transport and Communication, YLE Communications states in a press release.

According to the report, more than two-thirds of programmes on YLETV1 and under half on YLETV2 were informative. Current affairs, factual, cultural and educational programmes and also domestic children's programmes were the hallmark of the public service channels. Over the last five years, YLE's analogue television output has remained similar.

Finnish television output as a whole was dominated by foreign fiction, accounting for approx. a quarter of programmes. Ranking next were current affairs programmes, sport, factual programmes, films and entertainment. More than half of programmes were of domestic origin, even though its share clearly declined on the commercial channels. Series and serials dominated output, and repeats accounted for just under a quarter of the total. The majority of YLE's output was of European origin.

Output on the digital channels corresponded to that on the analogue ones, although the digital channels, bar YLE's Swedish-language FST, had specialised in specific programme genres. The digital channels showed more sport and factual and cultural programmes and less foreign production.

Source: YLE Communications

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15 October 2003: The Icelandic media company Nordurljós may be sold to a British investor

A British investor has been discussing the possibility of buying the the Icelandic media company Nordurljós, according to Daily News from Iceland.

"Businessman Marcus Evans has made an offer of ISK one billion (USD 12.5 million) for the media company, which owns Stöd 2, Skjár Einn, and various radio stations.

Evans, who plans to invest an additional ISK one billion into the company, has said he’d be willing to purchase Nordurljós if the bank writes off half of the ISK 6.9 billion (USD 83 million) the company owes to creditors", writes Daily News from Iceland.

Source: Daily News from Iceland

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24 October 2003: Extremely good attendance figures for Norwegian films

By October, the attendance figures for Norwegian films in 2003 had reached two million, the best results in 27 years.

Lene Løken, Managing Director of FILM&KINO, explains the increase both by emphasising the newborn interest for and supply of high-quality Norwegian films and a general trend towards higher film consumption.

FILM&KINO is an organisation that develops and promotes the film- and cinema industry in Norway. The aim of the organisation is to maintain the Norwegian municipals commitment to film, cinema operation and video activity.

- The interest for film is escalating. Cinema attendance has constantly improved since the mid-90s and at the same time video consumption has gone up. Additionally, TV-channels have a stronger film focus and even print media devote more space to film. Film has become a part of the modern, urban life and upholds its strong position in all media, claims Løken.

For those who wish to know more about specific Norwegian films, the Norwegian Film Institute offers a new (English language) film database. The database contains several hundred titles, and more titles are added daily.

The film database contains features, documentaries and short films; including films that have been released earlier this year and films still in production. Older titles are added continuously.

Source: The Norwegian Film Institute/ Film&Kino

10 October 2003: Support for the press to be increased

The production support for Norwegian newspapers is to be increased by 3.3 per cent if the budget proposal from the Ministry for Culture and Church Affairs goes through in the parliament. This means that the support will amount to 246.9 million NOK in 2004.

According to a press release from the Ministry, a number of Norwegian newspapers are struggling to survive and have a strained economy. The state support is vital to many of them. The Minister for Culture and Church Affairs, Ms. Valgerd Svarstad Haugland, says that se is happy to propose to raise the level of the support back to where it was earlier.

A White paper from the government (St.meld. nr. 57 (2000-2001) resulted in a broad parliamentary review of the current policy towards the press The parliament agreed that it is of vital importance to democracy and pluralism that newspapers offering a variety of ideas are maintained in all parts of the country.

Source: The Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs

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27 October 2003: Vulnerable Swedish Internet infrastructure

"There may be a downside to Sweden´s status as one of the world´s most wired nations. The National Post and Telecom Agency says the heavy reliance on the Internet among Swedish companies and public agencies has created a dangerous vulnerability", reports SR International (Sveriges Radio).

"According to a new report to the government, the agency says in less than ten years the Internet has become as important part of Sweden´s infrastructure as roads, railways, the electric grid or the telephone network.

Few companies or public agencies, if any, the report concludes, could maintain operations for long without access to the Internet."

Source: SR International (Sveriges Radio)

10.10.03: Parliamentary committee to assess the conditions for public service broadcasting

The Ministry of Culture has decided to set up a parliamentary committee, giving it the task to assess the conditions for "radio and television at the service of the people". The committee will above all discuss questions regarding the mandate given to the public service companies, and their organization and administration.

The transmission permissions for the three Swedish public service companies; Sveriges Radio AB (SR), Sveriges Television AB (SVT) and Sveriges Utbildningsradio AB (UR) expire at the end of 2005. The parliamentary committee will hand over its recommendation before the end of September 2004. A special investigator has been given the task to review questions concerning levies and the television license fee, the budget funding of the production companies and value added tax. The review has to be concluded by august 2004.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

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29 October 2003: Nordic film prize

The Nordic Council has decided that it will establish a Film Prize. It will be the fourth in the series of prestigious Nordic Council prizes: the Literature Prize, the Music Prize and the Nature and Environment Prize.

The Nordic Council has already awarded a one-off, honorary Film Prize to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2002. The Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki was awarded the DKK 350,000 prize for his film “The Man Without a Past” – the same amount as the other Nordic prizes.

A spokesperson for the Presidium of the Nordic Council, Anita Johansson (Soc. Dem.) Sweden, said that a Nordic Film Prize would increase the number of quality films produced in the Nordic countries and released in Nordic cinemas. Johansson warmly recommended setting up the new Nordic Film Prize.

The decision to make the prize permanent was not unanimous. A majority of the 28 members of the Centre Group voted against. The Group consists of parties like the Christian Democrats and Centre Party from Norway, the Liberal and Radical parties form Denmark, the Centre Party and Christian Democrats from Sweden and the Progress Party from Iceland.

The minority did not oppose a prize for the visual arts in principle but a spokeswoman, Ragnwi Marcelind (Christ. Dem., Sweden) insisted that the number of Nordic prizes should not be allowed to erode their significance. She called for a careful evaluation of the current prizes before making a decision on the Film Prize and pointed out that the exact details of the financing have not yet been worked out.

A Nordic Film Prize Secretariat will be set up. The statutes have not yet been finalized but it is likely that the prize will be awarded in 2005 to an innovative film of high artistic quality produced in 2004.

Source: The Nordic Council

27 October 2003: New free Nordic photo database

"Nordbild" is the name of a new photo database. The media and general public can download the pictures free of charge, reports the press service of the Nordic Council/Nordic Council of Ministers.

You can in the picture database Nordbild. Use of the pictures is freely permitted provided that the source is mentioned (for example NN - Nordic Council of Ministers/Nordic Council).

The pictures are available in several sizes: small, medium and large. The large is suitable for publication in printed media. You can by date, subject, or key words, or a combination of these. If you choose to by subject, the pictures available in your chosen subject will be shown.

In the date field you can on pictures with a start date either before or after a certain date, or within a period. Write the date in the format “yyyy-mm-dd”, e.g. “2003-10-12”.

In the key word field you can for pictures where the description, picture name or photographer contain the word you type in.

Source: The Nordic Council of Ministers/Nordic Council

21 October 2003: Nordic press enjoy almost unlimited freedom

The conditions for press freedom in the Nordic countries are good, according to the ranking list set up by Reporters Without Borders.

When the organisation published its second world press freedom ranking, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands and Norway shared the top positions on the list. Denmark is number five from the top and Sweden number nine, on a list containing 166 countries.

"As in 2002, the most catastrophic situation is to be found in Asia, especially North Korea, Burma and Laos. Second from last in the ranking, Cuba is today the world's biggest prison for journalists. The United States and Italy were given relatively low rankings", states a press release from Reporters Without Borders.

Source: Reporters Without Borders

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