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Third 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.



13 September 1999: Young children do not understand TV commercials

"It is hardly in the best interest of Danish children to be targeted by such deliberately unethical marketing practices, as has been the case lately. Two Danish public service channels featuring commercial-free kiddie TV would help counterbalance the commercial pressures to which children are exposed from other sources", states a press release issued by the Danish Ministry of Culture.

Birgitte Tufte, an assistant re professor at the Royal Danish School of Educational Studies, prepared a report on children and TV commercials for the Ministry of Culture, in response to Minister of Culture Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen's wish to prohibit TV commercials for children and to have "commercial-free zones" around broadcasts aimed at children. The Minister of Culture is convinced of the importance of this political initiative.

"The investigation shows that little children are definitely not aware of being influenced by TV commercials. They are unable to distinguish between commercials and ordinary programming. Most of them discover the difference when they are about 7 years old, but up to their 12th year, children may find it difficult to understand the purpose of the advertisements. The more sophisticated types of commercials can even be difficult to for older children to see through", concludes the press release.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

2 September 1999: Ministry of Culture proposes appropriating nearly MDKK 300 for film purposes in 2000

The Ministry of Culture has presented its proposal for appropriations (budget) for 1999 to 2003 in conjunction with the proposal for a new Finance Act (budget) for 2000.

Appropriations to the film industry would increase substantially, from MDKK 267.4 (1999 prices) to MDKK 299.8 (2000 prices) in 2000. By the end of 2003, the Danish appropriation for films would reach MDKK 367.8 (2000 prices).

State contributions to the Ministry of Culture's budget for 2000 will amount to MDKK 3 628.5, an overall increase of more than MDKK 50 from 1999, and the subsidy is scheduled to increase to MDKK 4 251.4 in 2001.

Public libraries can also expect a technological 'facelift' if the proposed new Library Act is adopted. According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Culture: "Public libraries will be equipped to be at the cutting edge of information technology. In future, they will be required to offer Internet connections and computer workplaces. Users will have access to electronic databases, and they will be able to borrow digital multimedia and CDs. The new measures are to be made available to users free of charge."

"Those are just a few of the consequences of the proposed new Library Act which Minister of Culture Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen sent out for comment today (1 September). The proposal entails that the State will boost its general framework allocation to the libraries. As from 2003, total library appropriations will be more than MDKK 100 higher than they are today", states the press release.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

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3 November 1999: YLE's finances as expected

"YLE's revenue grew in the period from January to August by four per cent from the corresponding period in 1998", according to a press release from YLE. There were almost 30,000 more current television fees than a year earlier.

The listening share of YLE's radio channels has remained at the previous level (63%) and the viewing share of its television channels has declined (43.8%). There were a total of 8,790 hours of digital radio broadcasts. The third digital radio channel, Radio Aino, is to be launched at the end of November.

Loss-making result forecast
The net sales of the YLE Group in the period from January to August came to 229.9 million euros. The Group had total costs of 247.3 million euros. A forecast indicates that the Group's result for the entire year before extraordinary items will be a loss of 21 million euros. In the period from January to August 1999, YLE had a personnel of 4,199 man-years, i.e., 67 fewer than in the previous year. The subsidiary, Digita, had a personnel of 395.

Increase in television fee proposed
YLE's Administrative Council recommends an increase of FIM 100 in the television fee. The final decision on the matter will be taken by the Council of State. The television fee has been raised only once since 1991, to take account of VAT.

In the same period, YLE's programme output has grown on television by 80 per cent and on radio by 40 per cent. The increase would take effect as of 1st July 2000.

The grounds given for the proposed increase are that the safeguarding of YLE's current programme operation and launch of new digital services will require extra funding. The simultaneous upkeep of two technologies (analogue and digital) will give rise to extra costs over the next few years.

The television fee currently stands at FIM 882 a year. The price is the lowest in the Nordic countries and also very low in European terms. In other Nordic countries, the operating prerequisites for broadcasting have been secured by means of annual increases in the television fees.

Source: YLE Communications

18 September 1999: On the Road to the Finnish Information Society

Almost 2.5 million Finns, 63% of those aged 15-74, had access to a PC at work, at school or in their home in September 1998, a survey carried out by Statistics Finland shows.

Home use was reported by some 1.6 million and use at work or school by 1.8 million. In addition, slightly less than 100,000 had access to a computer elsewhere, such as in a library. The services provided by public libraries are available to everybody, but only a small number of people make use of their information network services.

Some 1.5 million Finns, 37% of those aged 15-74 years, did not have a chance to use a computer or any need for doing so, the figure increasing with age.

1.3 million, or 42%, reported access to the Internet at home, work or school, and more than 900,000 of them were e-mail users. More than half of all Internet users reported using it daily.

Towards the new millennium...
Finland's information society strategy emphasises the new opportunities for personal development, interaction and influencing the course of affairs that are opening up to people through this development.

The structure of economic activities has changed, the education system is constantly developing and new skills and capabilities for adopting innovations are required at work. Individualised working times, telework and other types of non-conventional employment have become more common.

Major changes have also taken place in the technical resources available to households, in that an increasing number of people currently make daily use of the mobile phone, computer and Internet. The number of television programmes and channels has also increased. All these changes affect the way people use their time.

The Finns' experiences of information technology and the extent to which they had adopted it were already measured in an extensive interview inquiry in 1996.4 The extent of its use has increased substantially in the intervening three years, and a larger number of people now have experience of it.

The inquiry in the use of time amongst the Finnish population and the survey on 'The Finns and the future information society', both to be carried out in 1999 and 2000, will allow for an even better assessment to be made of changes that information and communications technology has brought to people's everyday lives.

Read the survey On the Road to the Finnish Information Society.

Source: Statistics Finland

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20 October 1999: Launch of new TV channel

"A new television station, Skjár einn, begins broadcasting this evening at 2000 amid assurances by its owners to devote more time and money to Icelandic language programmes", Daily News from Iceland writes.

"Skjár einn could theoretically challenge the predominance of the state channel, RUV, or Stöd 2, the privately run network. It will carry a news service and cultural programmes such as book reviews but American and British formats are inevitable: Jay Leno's chatshow will be run and there are suggestions that Skjár einn will broadcast an Icelandic version of Jerry Springer.

Sixty people are employed by the new station, providing a shot in the arm for the Icelandic television industry", concludes Daily News from Iceland.

Source: Daily News from Iceland

28 September 1999: Icelandic filmmaker (almost) takes it all in festival

40 competitors watched as Dagur Kári Pétursson received first prize for one film and a special prize from Canal+ for another, at the tenth Nordic Panorama festival for short- and documentary films held in Reykjavík.

The festival is the brainchild of the organization for Nordic short and documentary film workers; Filmkontakt Nord, based in Copenhagen.

"The prize was awarded to Dagur Kári Pétursson for his short film, Lost Weekend", writes Daily News from Iceland, quoting Dagur Kári Pétursson`s comment to the DV newspaper: "Nothing was indicating that the film was going to win so when it did I was completely taken aback."

Daily News from Iceland goes on: "Lost Weekend tells the story of a disc jockey who wakes up in a hotel after going on a drinks bender. He has no idea how he got there and repeated attempts to leave the hotel are frustrated by a series of mishaps. It was made by Pétursson as his final project in graduating from film school in Copenhagen.

It is not the first time that the film has won accolades. It was singled out by the panel of judges at a film festival in Munich and was also highly regarded at a film festival in Mexico City.

Pétursson has also had success with another project, Old Spice, a film about a barber's shop in Reykjavík. This film won accolades from the French television company, Canal+", Daily News from Iceland writes.

Source: DV/Daily News from Iceland

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4 October 1999: Main media policy lines carried through in Ministry of Culture's proposal for the fiscal budget

"The proposal is to appropriate a total of MNOK 2 924.4 to cultural activities, and MNOK 537.2 for film and media activities", according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Culture. Further, the press release states that "The Ministry of Culture's proposed budget for 2000 adds up to a total of MNOK 3 553.9. The proposed budget entails a nominal increase of 4.8 per cent when adjusted for the transfer of MNOK 33 in 1999 to the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development in connection with a redistribution of responsibility between the State and the municipality of Oslo for the National Theatre and Oslo Nye Theatre.

Main press policy lines maintained
The Government is of the opinion that it is important to maintain the most stable possible general conditions for the press until the public committee appointed to review press subsidies submits its report in spring 2000. Accordingly, the Government will continue to pursue the main lines of its current press policy. It is proposed that MNOK 164.2 be appropriated for production subsidies for daily newspapers in 2000, a rise of MNOK 4.5.

Changes in film subsidy schemes in 2000
Changes will be proposed in the subsidy schemes for film production when the Revised National Budget for 2000 is presented. Until then, the State will continue to pursue the main lines of its current film policy. The government proposes that MNOK 115.8 be allocated to film production and MNOK 49.6 to the audio-visual production fund in 2000. In addition, it is proposed that MNOK 3.8 be earmarked for the restoration of old films, a rise of MNOK 1.

NRK licence up NOK 50
The government proposes increasing the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) licence fee by NOK 50 in the fiscal budget for 2000. The increase is needed to compensate for price rises, as well as to improve broadcasting in general and to develop digital broadcasting. "If the proposal is adopted, a licence will cost NOK 1 640 in the year 2000", states the press release.

Source: Ministry of Cultural Affairs

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23 September 1999: Study on public service radio and TV

Anders Ljunggren has been appointed "... special investigator designated to present broad-based information about the preparation of new terms and conditions for public service radio and TV", according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Culture.

Currently serving as secretary for the Democracy Report Committee, Anders Ljunggren will be named the director of Föreningen Norden as of 1 January 2000.

"Among other things, the investigator will examine broadcasters' objectives and organisation, questions about technology and distribution, and questions about financing. The assignment will be executed in co-operation with Sveriges Radio AB, Sveriges Television AB and Sveriges Utbildningsradio AB. The report is to be completed by the end of May 2000", states the press release.

"The broadcasting licence for Sveriges Radio AB, Sveriges Television AB and Sveriges Utbildningsradio AB is valid until year-end 2001. In other words, a new licensing period will begin on 1 January 2002.

It is important to ensure that the terms and conditions applied to public service radio and TV enjoy broad-based political support. Prior to any decision about issuing a new broadcasting licence, a committee will be appointed, consisting of representatives of all the parties with seats in the Riksdag. There should be broad-based political consensus before the work begins. The job of ensuring such a broad consensus has now been assigned to a special investigator", continues the press release.

Minister of Culture Marita Ulvskog commented that technological developments and the sheer volume of new media messages make it more important than ever to uphold the principle that radio and television programmes should be produced for and broadcast to everyone in the country. In this context, the minister of culture pointed out that it crucial to try to maintain the depth, scope and quality of productions, as well as their independence in relation to commercial, political or other interests.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

21 September 1999: Proposal to increase State contributions to film, press, radio and TV in the budget for 2000

"With a culture budget approaching SEK 5 billion in this year's proposed national budget, the Ministry of Culture is continuing to do well in vying for government appropriations to various social areas", writes Svenska Dagbladet in a comment to the government's proposed budget for 2000, submitted on 20 September.

"The budget for 2000 pursues the aims laid down in the 1996 proposition related to culture", according to a press release issued by the Swedish Ministry of Culture.

Among other things, the press release mentions "... A new film agreement has been concluded between the State, the film industry and the TV broadcasters." The agreement entails a hefty increase in film subsidies. Comprehensive efforts will be made to maintain, develop and propagate Swedish film production.

The aim is to increase the number of times people go to the cinema each year and to make the cinema into a cultural meeting place. Revenues are expected to reach MSEK 385 in 2000, an increase of more than MSEK 100 from this year's budget. The State will allocate a yearly subsidy of MSEK 200.5 to the Swedish Film Institute. This translates into a rise of MSEK 67.6 compared with 1999".

The press release also touched on press, radio and TV subsidies: "... The efforts relating to public service radio and TV will continue in 2000. The government proposes that public service broadcasters be allocated a total of altogether MSEK 100 for rejuvenation measures. It has been proposed that MSEK 75 be allocated to SVT for the production of superior programming, and that Sveriges Radio be granted MSEK 10 to reinforce the diversity and quality of its programming.

More to the press
"In an effort to protect journalistic diversity, it is proposed that operating subsidies be increased by 4.5 per cent from 2000. The increase would add up to about MSEK 20. To ensure that the press subsidies go to the newspapers which need them most, it has been proposed that the minimum household coverage for medium- and high-frequency newspapers be changed from 40 to 30 per cent", according to the press release.

Source: The Ministry of Culture

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15 October 1999: EU approves merger of Telenor and Telia

The EU Commission has agreed to the merger of Norwegian Telenor and Swedish Telia.

"The decision was very welcome, and we have plans ready to introduce a strong, customer-oriented and very competitive telecommunications company to the Scandinavian market and internationally", says the future President and CEO Tormod Hermansen in a comment to the press service of Telenor.

The merged Telenor/Telia will be the sixth largest telecommunications company in Europe with 51,000 employees and sales of around SEK 43 billion or NOK 41 billion for the first half of 1999.

"This is a positive merger. Telenor's and Telia's combined expertise and experience give the new company a strong platform for international expansion. We have high ambitions in the areas of mobile communication, Internet and IP carrier activities. In a few years 50 per cent of the new company's income will come from operations outside of Norway and Sweden" says Tormod Hermansen to Telenor`s press service.

In addition to its international ambitions, the company will also aim to reinforce its position as the leading telecommunication company in Scandinavia and improve its good customer relations in its home markets.

Tormod Hermansen believes that the measures requested by the EU commission such as the sale of overlapping activities in Norway, Sweden and Ireland, opening of the access network and sale of the cable TV activities in both countries are fully acceptable. "The benefits from merging Telenor and Telia more than compensate for the EU requirements", says Hermansen.

It is intended that Telenor/Telia shares will be listed next year. The Swedish state will initially own 60 per cent of the shares in the merged company, and the Norwegian state will own 40 per cent. The respective Governments will each gradually reduce their ownership stakes to 33.4 per cent so that other owners will control 33.2 per cent of the company.

Source: Telenor`s press office

12 July 1999: Programme for the Finnish EU Presidency – A Society Based on Information and Knowledge

Knowledge and skills will form the foundation of economic competitiveness and the welfare of the whole of society in the next millennium. The European information society must be founded on a high standard of education, training and re, innovative skills and use of modern information and communications technology (ICT).

A central objective in terms of the future of the information society is to create well-functioning electronic markets. The basic requirement is a liberalised telecommunications market and a legislative environment that supports electronic commerce.

As an integral part of strengthening the internal market, Finland will endeavour to promote legislative projects concerning the electronic market. The aim here must be to safeguard growth potential for the commerce while also protecting the consumer's interests. The EU should further the adoption of clear international rules for electronic commerce within the WTO and in international cooperation.

The European information and communications industry must be able to respond to the challenges of global competition in the development of technology and ICT applications. The Finnish Presidency will also raise the issue how companies can improve their competitiveness by efficiently using information and communications technology.

The information society entails new possibilities for job creation. This will be underlined during the Finnish Presidency in the work on the European Employment Strategy. Electronic services and content production offer great potential for employment-creation and competitiveness. This has to be taken into account when developing European education, training and re systems.

New information and communications technologies open possibilities to develop teaching and studying in its various forms. Extensive application of technology faces teaching and the whole educational sector with challenges that can only be answered, according to the Finnish view, with broad range European cooperation.

A genuine information society must be accessible to all citizens. Development must not lead to inequalities and marginalisation. Therefore debate is needed on lifelong learning, the use of new learning methods and tools, and the services of the information society in providing essential services.

The Commission Green Paper on public-sector use of information in the information society provides a good opportunity for assessing whether progress has been made towards more transparent administration in Europe. Finland hopes the Commission will issue a communication and proposals for further action on this matter.

Source: The Finnish EU Presidency

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