New Danish law proposal about film
The Minister of Culture, Ms. Jytte Hilden, presented a new law proposal
concerning films in October. In the proposal, the Danish film institute, the
Public film central and the Danish film museum are supposed to be merged into a
single institution, to be named the Danish Film Institute. All the
responsibilities of the respective institutions in the fields of full length
movies, short films, documentaries, the preservation of film and film material
are joined under the same hat. The new Film Institute is to be lead by a board
with up to seven members, of whom the Minister of Culture is to name three. In
addition, threeboards are to be established, and each will appoint one board
member. The last member is to be selected by the employees of the Film
Institute. The Board will appoint the leadership, to be headed by a managing
director, who is to be responsible for the regular activity.
The law proposal must be seen in the light of the three institutions new move
into the Copenhagen house of Film. The house of Film contains cinemas and other
facilities for an active and extrovert interface with the public. The moving in
of the institutions makes it possible for them to connect to this interface,
and this may create the chance for making Danish film and film policy more
visible in a completely different way. But this requires co-operation and
co-ordination in many new areas. In the law proposal, it is thus suggested that
the three organisations are merged into one, with a common leadership to be
lead by a managing director.
This will mean a more dynamic and efficient organisation which can "draw"
Danish film and film policy outwards. In order to keep up the effort of
maintaining the artistical and professional characteristics, three boards are
to be formed: One for full length movies, one for short and documentary films,
and one museum board. Each board is to offer advice to the new Film institute
inside its own area.
The law proposal is the result of a process which started back in 1995, when
the Minister of Culture asked the consultancy firm Performance A/S to look into
the need for organisational changes triggered by the move to the house of Film.
The conclusion of the consultancy firm was that the institutions should be
merged and given a common leadership.
The report from the consultancy firm was followed by a dialogue with the
leadership of the institutions and the film environments, which form the first
"raw draft" for a new film law. The draft has throughout the summer been
subject to a hearing in a wide circle, and based on the opinions voiced, it has
been refined into the current law proposal.
The proposal is expected to be accepted early in the new year, and when it has
been, the actual building of the new institution may start. If everything
proceeds well, the Danish Film Institute in its new form may be completely
operational in the first half of 1997.
Film censorship in Denmark terminated
Ban is replaced by counselling, and the film censorship is replaced by a media
council for children and youth. This is suggested in a law proposal from the
Danish Ministry of Culture, which has been subject to its first consideration
by the Parliament.
In the film law proposal, which was recently presented by the Minister of
Culture, it is proposed that the national censorship body is to be terminated
and the well-known age limits at 12 and 16 years abandoned. This takes place
through the cancellation of the law on film censorship, which forbids showing
of films to children below 12 and 16 years respectively, films which have not
been approved for these age groups by the national censorship. Similarly, a law
which requires labelling of video films according to the approval of the
censorship rulings and forbids distribution to children below 12 or 16 years
of such cassettes, will be cancelled.
The ban rules are to be replaced by an extended counselling to parents. It will
still be mandatory to inform consumers about a film`s suitability for children
and youth. There will also be a governmental body with professional insight
into children that is to evaluate the suitability of films and ensure proper
information. Thus, the media council for children and youth is established, and
it replaces the national censorship body. The media council will evaluate films
and, based on this, ensure sufficient information to parents and to those who
are involved in regulation of the media consumption among the young, like
The suggestion has been raised on the recommendation of a wide majority of the
parties in the Parliament and after an intense media debate. The main theme of
the discussion has been whether the suggested counselling provides sufficient
protection for children who do not receive the necessary support from their
parents. In order to help such children, the law proposal contains an opening
for the Minister of Culture, together with the media council for children and
youth, to establish so-called parental guidance rules known from abroad. Such
rules specify that in order for children to see a film which has been
classified as unsuitable for their age group, they need to be accompanied by an
Go to Contents
Animated discussion on the public service fee
The Governments decision to grant concession to the fourth TV channel has provoked a discussion about the public service fee. Ruutunelonen, which was granted the concession, pays a lower public service fee to Rundradion/YLE in the beginning than the MTV channel, another commercial channel.
MTV has been dissatisfied with the decision, and has asked the competition council to voice an opinion on the matter. The council suggested that the entire fee should be dropped, since it hinders competition.
The competition council has been criticised by those who claim that public service responsibilities of YLE cannot be ignored for commercial reasons. If other companies no longer have to pay any fees, it will become very difficult to finance the programming at YLE. The pressure to increase license fees will become ber.
The minister of Traffic, Ms. Tuula Linnainmaa, has said that she will establish a committee to look into the public service principles in
broadcasting, and how it should be financed.
Digital radio makes progress
The Ministry of Transport and Communication has received 40 applications from
organisations with an interest in digital radio. The Ministry will negotiate
with them concerning the distribution of transmission capacity and the rules
for multiplexing co-operation. Comments must be sent to the Ministry by the end
The service plans for the digital radio of Rundradion/YLE has been approved by
the management council. When the digital radio network is ready, Rundradion
will transmit its current radio programmes both as regular and digital
transmissions. The company will also transmit programmes only in digital
The life experience of young adults and the female public will be the focus for
a new programming service. The service will contain topics which relate to job,
family, leisure, human relations, culture, society and programmes for
In the programming offering of YLE, a new alternative will also contain a new
alternative - programmes with no music. However, the main offering will be the
continuation of current productions. A basic service as a support for the
public education is a co-operation between YLE and various educational bodies.
Swedish language services are increased with, among other things, regional specialities.
Go to Contents
TV 2 snatches English football
The private stations TV 2 and Syn have ensured the exclusive rights to the
transmission of English football in Iceland from next season. This means that
some of the most popular TV transmissions disappear from the Icelandic public
TV, RUV, where English football has been on the programme for almost thirty
years, from the very early time of TV in Iceland.
Media A/S, owning and operating TV2 and Syn, will also have exclusive rights to
the League Cup and the Charity Shield match at the start of the season. The
agreement concerning the League Cup runs for one year, while the exclusive rights to the transmission of the Charity Shield games runs to the turn of the
The leadership of Iceland TV considers this to be a disaster for RUV, but the
institution simply could not compete with the private stations, that have their
revenue almost completely from advertising and licence. The leaders at RUV have
thought on this occasion that it has bcome absolutely necessary for a
publicly owned TV station to have a second channel. The competition is simply
hopeless without a second channel.
Investigation on TV violence
The childrens ombudsman has published an investigation concerning use of
violence on TV which reveals that many banned films are advertised at times
when children watch TV. Ads for 96 banned films were shown on Icelandic TV
prior to 10 p.m. in the period from 2 to 15 September this autumn, according to
the report. During the same period, 14 films banned to children were shown
prior to 10 p.m. The study was triggered by a number of people who had pointed
out that children often watch violent advertising.
The ombudsman does not consider such advertising as being consistent with
childrens rights to be protected from harmful information. The faculty for
social studies at Iceland University carried out the study, and the purpose of
it was to investigate the contents of violent material on Icelandic TV.
It turned out that there were 33 commercials for banned films prior to 10 p.m.
on TV Iceland, 52 on TV 2, five on TV 3 and three on Syn. However, most films
prior to 10 p.m. were shown on Syn, which transmitted seven. There were six on
TV 2, one on TV 3, but none on TV Iceland during the period 2 to 15
The radio distribution board held an open conference on the subject of violence
on TV in the continuation of the study. The Minister of Education held a short
speech at the conference and said that there are two ways to counter violence
One was to forbid certain films, while the other was to inform the users. The
technological evolution continues in such a way that it is impossible for the
authorities to check the distribution of material.
The Minister said that he thus would prefer the second approach and strengthen information about film and technology, to develop the pupils` understanding of
good film and last, but not least, to appeal to the parents and their
responsibility. The lecturers seemed to agree that a ban on TV violence was not
the way to proceed, since it would then not be possible to select films for an
adult audience. Information and purposeful descriptions in the press is a more
The responsibility rests in the homes, but it may be difficult to monitor all
children activity in their own rooms, where there may be a computer, a TV or a
video machine. At the conference, a warning was issued against the long term
effects from violent films, which shows a distorted picture of reality with
noble revenge, glorious violence, fighting without pain etc.
During the conference, however, different points of view on the subject were voiced. Some claimed that TV watching could stimulate real violence and even
cause violence in certain cases and also lead to children imitating the
violence seen on TV. Others maintained that there was a tendency to blame TV
for everything that goes wrong in society. The conclusion of the conference
was, broadly speaking, that it would be sensible for the leadership of TV
stations to assume that there is a certain connection, and that parents who are
worried about media violence should talk to their children about it to reduce
the danger of bad influence.
Go to Contents
NRK must state criteria for the amount of sponsoring
The Ministry of Culture has asked NRK to state in the yearly report of 1996 criteria in order to reduce the amount of sponsoring of programmes.
The net revenue from sponsorship in 1995 was approximately 14 million NOK,
which is 0,56 per cent of the total revenue. The Parliament has fixed an upper
limit of one per cent, and demands an overview of such income.
In the white paper on broadcasting and daily press in 1995, the Ministry also
points out the demand for programmes produced in Norway in TV 2. The Ministry states it is positive that 54 per cent of the programmes last year were
produced in Norway.
The Ministry is satisfied that both NRK and TV 2 have taken the initiative to
co-operate to avoid competition which will forces costs to rise. This is
particularly relevant in the technical field, and for sports.
New concessions for local TV
The Ministry of Culture has made a final ruling on the complaints for the
granting of concessions for land based local TV. This makes it clear who will
have the concession for local TV over the next seven years.
The deadline to apply for concessions was 1 October last year. There were 76
applications for 30 areas of concession. The applications have been handled by
a separate concession council appointed by the Ministry of Culture. The council
have presented a unanimous recommendation to the public media board, who
formally grant the concessions. The professional and economic conditions for
running of local TV and the applicants plans for a broad programme offering has
been the basis for the treatment of applications.
A concession for a land based general purpose TV channel in each concession
area has been granted. All the 30 concession holders have one or more local
owners. In 19 of the areas, one or more newspapers are partial owners.
The 1/3 rule
According to the local broadcasting regulations, no single company may own more
than 1/3 of the total national market for local TV. The largest single actor is
Norsk Lokal-TV AS, which has a total market share of 30 per cent. The future of
the company is somewhat uncertain, however. Norsk Lokal-TV is owned by Orkla,
Aller, Telenor and A-pressen (the association of social democratic newspapers),
each holding 25 per cent. A-pressen will also become one of the major actors,
with a total market share of 23 per cent. If the ownership in Norsk Lokal-TV
is counted, A-pressen has an ownership of 28 per cent of the market.
Co-operation with NRK
With the new system for granting local TV concession, only one concession for
ether transmitted local TV for each area is granted. In consequence, a number
of previous concession holders, including religious groups and volunteer
organisations, no longer have concession for local TV.
During the handling of the white paper St.meld nr. 13 (1995-96) Local TV, the Parliament wanted such organisations and local TV concession holders to be able
to co-operate with NRK by using the local NRK2 land transmitters while they
were available. The set-up will at first cover NRK land transmitters in Oslo
and Bergen. The period of concession is three years. The transmission must not
contain advertising and must take place at times when NRK does not use the
transmitters themselves. The application deadline for concessions for such
transmissions was 21 October. 26 applications have been received.
Go to Contents
New film consultants
The Swedish Film Institute has appointed four new film consultants who are to
work for three years. In addition, a new services as educational consultant is
established. Mr. Mats Ahren and Mr. Reidar Jönsson have been appointed
as consultants on full length films.
Ms. Charlotta Denward has been appointed consultant for children and youth
film, and Ms. Kerstin Allroth has been appointed as consultant for short
and documentary film.In the new positions as educational consultant, Ms.
Elisabeth Lysander will be appointed.
New concession for TV4
Negotiations between the Government and TV4 were concluded on 28 October. The
new concession will be valid from 1 January 1997 until the end of the year
The percentage of advertising in transmissions may not increase, and the
concession fees are to be unchanged. The detail regulation in the concession
conditions is decreased, but the Government increases the demands in certain
TV4 is to widen the cultural responsibility by continually to mirror,
investigate and monitor the Swedish cultural scene. TV4 is to co-operate with
cultural and music institutions all over Sweden with the purpose of offering
transmissions of performances and events. Even film production and quality
production for TV is to be supported.
The Government also requires that TV4 must make programmes accessible for
handicapped, and that TV4 must send programmes for children in Swedish or some
other Nordic language.
The question which has received the most attention is the one concerning
regional transmissions. The concession conditions state that the regional base
is to be continued. The way to organise the activity is to contribute to the
mirroring of local new and events in different parts of the country in the
The handling of news and society coverage must be from different points of
view, so that events are not covered from a Stockholm point of view only.
Production companies which are situated outside Stockholm are to participate in
the production of programmes.
TV4 considers the local companies to be unprofitable and that TV4 thus will
find it hard to continue sending local TV programmes in separate windows.
Commission initiative to protect children from harmful contents in new
In October, the EU commission published a green book on the protection of
children and human rights concerning the contents of new audio-visual services
and other information services. In particular, violence and pornography
distributed by new on-line services, TV services and information services such
as the Internet are considered harmful.
The Commission emphasises that the question covers the new way of communicating
and not so much the contents as such, compared to traditional media. The
Commission believes that the material distributed by the new media in itself
hardly is more objectionable or harmful, but that the new services make the
material more visible and relatively speaking more accessible.
The Commission raises a number of questions concerning legal protection and
responsibility of the different actors in the information chain, control
systems which enable parents to limit access to harmful material and
The Commission wants reactions to the green book from the membership countries
by the end of February. The Swedish Ministry of Culture has distributed the
green book to a number of Swedish organisations, and wants their comments by 30
Go to Contents