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First edition 1999
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The 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.



4 March 1999: DR2 down to earth

"The Minister of Culture, Ms. Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen has today (3 March 1999) been given the support of the media spokespersons for an agreement which means that many more viewers will be able to receive the DR2 channel (Denmark Radio's number two channel)", a press statement from the Ministry of Culture announces.

"By using among other things the vacant TV frequencies which until now have been reserved for local TV, it is expected that it will be possible to increase the number of potential DR2 viewers from about 65 to about 80 per cent. The new agreement also means that it will become significantly less expensive for commercial local TV stations to broadcast in networks.

The stations fee to the Government – the networking fee – is in the year 2000 reduced with 5 million DKK, from 25 to 20 million. The networking fee is used for financing of the group of 50 million DKK which supports non-commercial local radio and TV stations. In order for this group to continue to receive the same amount, the group dedicated for trials with local TV and telecommunications is terminated at the end of 1999. This will save 5 million DKK which is transferred to the local radio and TV group.

It will be possible to establish larger common units with the goal of increasing the income base for local radio and TV stations. Finally, the agreement means that no PC fees will be introduced in the years 1999 or 2000", according to the press announcement.

The statement emphasises that the Minister of Culture during the last round of negotiations worked for giving DR the opportunity to be able to keep the fourth nation-wide local radio channel, but no agreement was reached on this point.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

25 February 1999: The film agreement for the years 2000 - 2002 in the bag

"The Minister of Culture, Ms. Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, has today (24 February 1999) entered into a political agreement which ensures that the governmental support for films is increased by 75 per cent over the next three years. The budget for 1999 meant an increase of 50 million DKK in 1999, but at that time, it was not possible to obtain a majority for an agreement about the support of films for the subsequent years", the press announcement from the Ministry of Culture states.

This means that the Government reaches its goal of further increasing the support for films. This will mean an additional 100 million DKK in the year 2000, and 150 million in the years 2001 and 2002. The majority behind the agreements are the parties of the Government, Venstre, Konservative, SF, CD, and Enhedslisten. The other parties will later announce whether they wish to support the agreement.

"The Minister of Culture took the initiative to the agreement now, because the Ministry has recently completed negotiations for a framework agreement with Det Danske Filminstitut about the distribution of the increased support. It was therefore viewed as desirable to obtain the highest possible amount of security to the agreement and for the future film production, not least due to the many private investors wanting to partake in film project", the press announcements states.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

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26 April 1999: In Finland data protection and IT security in telecommunications improved by law

In Finland, a new act will improve the protection of privacy of users, and IT security in the telecommunications sector. An act on privacy protection and IT security in telecommunications was ratified on 22 April 1999. The act, which has been prepared by the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Finland, will enter into force from the beginning of July 1999. This new act will implement the Directive concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the telecommunications sector.

Right to use cryptographic products
The new act implements the liberal cryptography policy adopted by the government of Finland. The act ensures the user’s right to protect his or her telecommunications messages, in practice e-mail messages, by technical means.

The act emphasises the confidentiality of e-mail. In the future, the personnel of companies providing e-mail or Internet services will have a similar obligation to observe secrecy of the contents of a message to the one the personnel of companies providing telephone services already have.

According to the new act, telecommunications operators’ right to process the identification data of the users, such as the subscription number or the length of a call, will be restricted. In addition, from the beginning of July 1999 telecommunications operators are obliged to take care of the IT security in their telecommunications operations and to inform the users of any risks.

In terms of IT security, the aim is not to overregulate. The Ministry of Transport and Communications of Finland believes that IT security will be carried out, to a great extent, as part of normal business.

Commercial messages can be forbidden
On the basis of the new act, disturbing use of telecommunications in direct marketing may be restricted. Marketing through automated calling systems is possible only by consent of the consumer. Thus, mass sending of text and e-mail messages can be prevented. Companies and associations may forbid this kind of marketing.

From the beginning of July, the itemisation of calls will be expanded so that all but the last three digits of a made call will be shown instead of the present last four digits. The itemisation will also show all the service numbers.

More competition in directories of subscribers
The telecommunications operators have to give, on equal terms, the information published in directories to be published in some other directory. This amendment aims to advance competition in directory business. According to the act, the telecommunications operators are obliged to manage the directories of subscribers and national directory services. A private person is entitled to have his or her personal data contained in directories of subscribers omitted from the directory or changed free of charge.

Source: The Ministry of Transport and Communications

25 February 1999: The Finns go more to the cinema – to see Finnish films

The lines in front of the ticket offices of Finnish cinemas, which were already long last autumn, are still growing. For the first time since the TV sets invaded the Finnish homes, more than 100,000 people have been to the cinema during a single weekend.

Not only for a single weekend, but for several successive ones. And the audiences have visited Finnish films. According to NewsRoom Finland, Jouni Mykkänen, the director of the Finnish Film Foundation, writes in the foundation newsletter that the drive for quality in Finnish film productions is currently paying off. Good manuscripts, good directing, good camera work, good actors; together, they currently mean a positive development for Finnish film production.

Another element, according to Mykkänen, is that the topics of the films; analysis and reflection about the past, on several levels, is interesting not only to the film makers, but similarly to the audience. One of the great movies (Ambush – Rukajärven tie) is about the last war, while another (Tommy and the Wild Cat – Poika ja ilves) is about the friendship between a boy and a lynx. By contrast, the well received film (Fire-Eater – Tulennielijä) by Pirjo Honkasalo represents Finnish modernism.

What remains now is to conquer – on a broad basis – the international market. Tommy and the Wild Cat – Poika ja ilves, has been sold to 40 countries, which provides hope for sales of other productions.

Source: The Finnish Film Foundation/Newsroom Finland

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30 March 1999: New legislation about temporary repayment in connection with film production in Iceland

On 11 March 1999, the Parliament introduced a new law concerning repayment in connection with film production in Iceland. The aim of the law is to attract foreign producers to Iceland in order to produce films or TV material with a promise of temporary repayment of domestic production costs.

According to the current law, it is permitted to use public funds to refund some of the production costs connected to the production of film and TV material in Iceland. However, it is a condition that the costs have been accrued in Iceland and that taxes have been paid to Iceland for wages and expenses for services rendered. Furthermore, certain conditions have to be met in order for partial repayment of production costs to take places. A company must be formed to handle the production of the film in Iceland, a specified budget covering production costs and financing must be presented. The production costs in Iceland must be at least ISK 80 million, an audited cost report shall be presented after the production has been completed, and the production must be finished on later than three years after the request for the repayment has been received.

The refunded production cost will amount to 12% in the period 1999-2002, and 9% in the period 2003-2005. The refunded amount is reduced by 50% if the production costs is in the range of ISK 80-100 million, and is reduced by 25% if the costs are between ISK 101-129 million. Furthermore, it is emphasised that if the application for repayment in connection with a film which has received money from the Iceland Film Fund, no repayment may be made for production costs connected to the same film.

Source: The Ministry of Culture and Education

15 February 1999: Digital TV transmissions within sight in Iceland

In January, an agreement was signed for co-operation between Tele Island (Landssími Íslands) and the Norwegian/French company Canal Digital AS. The agreement covers the development of transmission of digital TV in Iceland, and the mentioned company recently has started distribution of digital TV in other Nordic countries.

The aim is that Canal Digital AS is to provide the technical support, maintain the satellites that are to be used in the system and contribute with software for decoders, to mention only some elements. Tele Iceland, on the other hand, will be an agent for Canal Digital AS in Iceland, and also handle subscription service and customer contact. This co-operation means that financing and development costs for Tele Iceland will be lower than they would have been otherwise.

The decoders will be the same for all Nordic countries, and Icelandic will be one among the other Nordic languages implemented. It will be possible to receive transmissions via the broad band and satellite dishes for those who have such. It will thus be possible to see the mentioned transmissions all over Iceland. The plan is to ensure the rights of the Icelandic people to have access to the same material in digital TV which is currently available to other Nordic people. Many items on the program of Canal Digital AS are the same which are currently found on the broad band TV of Tele Iceland, but a significant new item is the so-called "pay-per-view".

It has not been finally clarified when the actual transmissions may start, but it is hoped that Icelandic people may receive transmissions from the company by next Christmas.

Source: The Ministry of Culture and Education

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16 March 1999: NRK enters agreement of intention for terrestrial digital TV

"The board of Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation Ltd. authorised the board to enter an agreement of intention with the distribution company Norkring AS about co-operation in the area of digital TV transmissions in a terrestrial network (DVB-T)", according to NRKInfo.

"Totally, Norkring wants to extend four of the analogue transmitters, so that they can also handle digital signals. ...Norkring aims to develop two transponders, which will provide a capacity of approximately eight TV channels", according to NRKInfo. Read the article from NRKInfo.

Source: NRKInfo

1 February 1999: Larger audiences for Norwegian films in 1998

"1998 was a good year for Norwegian film, when the number of viewers once again was above the magical 10% level", a press release from the Norwegian Film Institute states. In 1997, about five per cent of the cinema audience purchased tickets in order to see Norwegian films. "In addition, the numbers show that video and TV is a giant market for Norwegian film," according to the press release, which presents the numbers from 1998: 1 159 500 persons saw Norwegian films (including Norwegian co-productions), while the total number of cinema goers reached 11.4 million.

The TV side could show interesting numbers, with a total of 77 shown films distributed over 21 at NRK1, 23 on NRK2, 20 on TV3 and 13 on TV2. The total audience for Norwegian films added up to 13.3 million, while 37 films were watched by more than 100 000 persons. The average number of viewers for Norwegian films on NRK1 was 346 000, while the corresponding number for foreign films was 249 000," according to the press release.

Source: The film department of the Norwegian Film Institute

1 February 1999: Level cuts in the press support

The reduction in the press support for 1999 will be implemented as a so-called level cut, meaning that there will be a flat percentage cut in the production support for all the newspapers in the programme. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs will now announce a temporary measurement for the distribution of the press support this year.

The two organisations which represents the entire Norwegian news paper sector, Norske Aviser Landsforening and Landslaget for lokalaviser, gave the Minister of Culture, Ms. Anne Enger Lahnstein, the unanimous recommendation for a level cut. The production support for 1999 is 159.7 million NOK. In 1998, the support was 188.25 million NOK.

The Ministry of Cultural Affairs is currently working on the mandate and the composition of a public commission to evaluate the framework of conditions for the press. During the handling of the budget, the Parliament made it clear that the report is to cover all the components which enter into the framework conditions for the press, and that the press support is also to be evaluated on the larger media policy framework.

Source: The Ministry of Cultural Affairs

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22 March 1999: Committee to suggest legislation against media concentration

"Today (22 March), the Media Concentration Committee has delivered its report 'Freedom of speech and competition' with suggestions for legislation to ensure the plurality of Swedish media and to counter the concentration of ownership and power within mass media. This will be harmful for a free and wide exchange of opinions and information", according to a press release from the Ministry of Culture.

The committee views it as likely that the concentration of ownership within the media sector will continue. From the suggestions from the committee, it is clear that "...(the law about competition) will be suggested complemented with a rule which, once it has been adapted to the media field, will look after the basic interest for the preservation of the freedom of the press".

The committee suggests a separate law on media concentration, and the press announcement states that "...(when it comes to ) the control of ownership concentration in the most influential media for formation of the public opinion, the newspapers (paper and electronic editions), radio and TV, the committee suggest a special law on media concentration. The committee argues that the technical development and upcoming considerations in so-called questions of convergence may make it necessary to extend the application area to cover new companies".

The committee suggest that "...the public service companies, meaning SR, SVT and the educational radio are not included in the application of the law. Otherwise, the law will cover both public and private companies and regardless of whether the company is Swedish or foreign, if it is active in Sweden". Constitutional changes are required, according to the committee, in order to "...ensure the application of the competition legislation and enable legal action in the area of media concentration. The laws on freedom speech and freedom of the press are currently hard to interpret in these instances".

The committee has also examined the cable TV companies and states that these "...have an almost monopoly-like position and that changes in the law on freedom of speech which makes it possible to give the subscribers influence over the programme offering of the cable networks should be considered. At the moment, the committee suggest a new clause in the radio and TV law which make conditions in connection agreements about restrictions in the rights to install or use a different cable TV connection or to install satellite dishes illegal". It takes time to make changes to the constitution. Thus, the committee suggests that "...the main part of the new rules take effect on 1 January 2003. One of the suggested changes to the law of competition and the suggestion which covers the radio and TV legislation are not dependent on constitutional changes and are those proposed to take effect from 1 January 2000".

The recommendations from the committee were not unanimous. "...(one) reservation has been entered by the representatives Mr. Anders Björck (m), Mr. Olle Wästberg (fp) and Ms. Karin Johansson (kd). According to this reservation, it is not necessary to have specific legislation in this area, and the suggestion from the committee is not considered to have any impact", according to the press release.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

5 February 1999: "An overview of the freedom of press and freedom of speech aspects"

"The Government has today decided that a parliamentary based commission will look into the various basic aspects in the media area, the freedom of press and freedom of speech areas", according to a press release from the Ministry of Justice.

"The overview is necessary because of the rapid development in the area of information technology. The task consists of four parts.

First of all, the commission is to look into which parameters are present in order to create basic protection of freedom of speech less dependent on which technology is used in order to distribute expressions and other information to the public.

Another task for the commission is to evaluate whether the time limits for the freedom of press and freedom of speech should be made longer.

The third task is to take a closer look at a number of practical application problems connected the freedom of speech legislation, which the Government has been made aware of. Finally, the commission is to evaluate if certain types of threats should be defined as breaking of the freedom of press or freedom of speech legislation. The report is to be presented by 31 December 2000."

Source: The Ministry of Justice

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31 March 1999: Agreement on merger of Telenor and Telia ready

The agreement of a merger between Telia and Telenor was presented on a press conference on Tuesday 30 March in the Ministry of Industry in Stockholm. Present were also the Norwegian Minister of Transportation, Mr. Dag Jostein Fjærvoll, and his colleague, the Minister of Industry, Mr. Björn Rosengren.

"Based on evaluations of the value of the two companies, the owners - the Norwegian and the Swedish governments - have negotiated an exchange rate which gives the Norwegian government 40% of the shares in the new company, while the Swedish government is to have 60%", according to a press release from the Norwegian Ministry of transport and communications. It is also stated that "...the Norwegian and Swedish owners have agreed to maintain a combined governmental ownership part of at least 51%."

The location of the various daughter companies are to be decided by the new Norwegian-Swedish board. "The localisation of the leadership for the various divisions has not been decided yet, but will be evaluated based on business criteria. A major concern in the question of localisation will be demands for an effective and future oriented company organisation. Within this framework, a reasonable division of leadership tasks between the two countries will be made", the press release states.

"– The company that we are creating now will be competitive and will be able to offer good services to the consumers at low prices. This is one of the largest business transactions ever made in Sweden. A main topic is to have a large and important industrial project which will be able to create growth in both the countries, and in particular, it means the basis for growth in the IT sector, which will be improved with the increase of services offered by the new company." This is the view of the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Björn Rosengren, as stated in the press release.

Sources: Ministry of Trade and Industry (Sweden)/Ministry of Transport and Communications(Norway)

16 March 1999: New Nordic initiative for children and youth TV

"Norwegian Broadcasting corporation establishes Nordmagi AS together with Sveriges Television (SVT) and Danmarks Radio (DR). The new company is going to produce programmes for children and youth. The share capital will be DKK 510,000, divided equally between the three participants", writes NRKInfo.

"The aim is to improve the national offering for children and youth and to establish an offer which distributes Nordic culture to children, and which may enter the competition for the viewing habits of children. - By establishing a common programme, the production will become more effective. It will become less expensive to produce the same programme in five different language versions, says the person responsible for children and youth in NRK Fjernsynet, Mr. Kalle Fürst, to NRKInfo.

Source: NRKInfo

4 March 1999: The Ministers of Culture opened a Lappish meeting place on the Internet

Exactly at 12:15 on Friday 5 March, the Icelandic Minister of Culture, Mr. Björn Bjarnasson and the chairman of the Nordic section of the Nordic Council of Ministers held the official opening of Saami Web. In a press statement from the Nordic Council of Ministers it states that: "Saami Web is a new meeting place for Lapps, a global forum for original populations and a window to the world about Lapps and questions related to original populations. The Internet provides minorities with increased possibilities for providing information to the rest of the world that has not been tampered with.

The Nordic Council of Ministers` Steering Committee for Culture and Mass Media of the Nordic Council of Ministers has granted 1 million DKK to the project. Saami Web is to function as an exhibition window for what is available of Lappish information produced by SR and NRK Sámi Radio. The profile is to handle a broad spectrum of information with material on Lappish conditions and other relevant Web sites for original populations.

Behind Saami Web are the Lappish radios in Norway and Sweden. Material will be presented in Lappish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, English and Spanish."

Source: Nordic Council of Ministers

4 March 1999: The young may learn about old Norse gods from CD-ROM and web site

The project "Norse mythology on CD-ROM and Internet" has been completed. The media centre at the college in Bergen has produced a CD-ROM and an interactive Web site; "A wandering in the Norse world of gods", intended on children and youth. The world of the gods is presented in five Nordic languages as well as in English. The Nordic culture fund and the Nordic Council of Ministers` Steering Committee for Culture and Mass Media of the Nordic Council of Ministers have contributed with 250,000 and 300,000 DKK respectively, according to the newsletter Norden i veckan.

Visit "A wandering in the Norse world of gods"

Source: Nordic Council of Ministers

1 March 1999: Nordic Baltic Media Trends 1998

NORDICOM, the Nordic Information Centre for Media and Communication Re, based at the University of Gothenburg, has presented the publication Nordic Baltic Media Trends 1998.

The countries included are: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The media statistics include: Media Ownership, Newspapers, Magazines & Periodicals, Books, Radio, Television, Video, Film & Cinema, Phonogram, PC & Internet and Advertising.

Nordic Baltic Media Trends 1998, 290 SEK (+P & P), 382 pages, published 1999, ISSN 1401-0410.


18 January 1999: Nordic council of IT ministers

"The Nordic countries will have a council of IT ministers. This was agreed upon by the Nordic minister of co-operation at their meeting in Copenhagen on Wednesday 13 January," according to the newsletter Norden i veckan, published by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

"The purpose of the council is that the Nordic ministers regularly may exchange experience and discuss strategies for further development of the information society. The following minister are responsible for IT issues: Jan Trøjborg, Denmark, Jouni Backman, Finland, Davíd Oddsson, Iceland, Lars Sponheim, Norway, Björn Rosengren, Sweden. From the self governing areas, the following have been appointed: Finnbogi Arge, Faroe islands, Peter Grønvold Samuelsen, Greenland, Roger Nordlund, Åland. Info Elisabeth Ferm, Nordic Council of Ministers, +45 33 96 02 78,"

Source: Nordic Council of Ministers

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