Basic Data


Official Country Name: Kingdom of Denmark
Region (Map name): Europe
Population: 5,352,815
Language(s): Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic (an Inuit dialect), German (small minority)
Literacy rate: 100.0%
Area: 43,094 sq km
GDP: 162,343 (US$ millions)
Number of Daily Newspapers: 31
Total Circulation: 1,481,000
Circulation per 1,000: 347
Total Circulation: 66,000
Circulation per 1,000: 16
Newspaper Consumption (minutes per day): 27
Total Newspaper Ad Receipts: 5,475 (Krone millions)
As % of All Ad Expenditures: 50.80
Magazine Consumption (minutes per day): 7
Number of Television Stations: 25
Number of Television Sets: 3,121,000
Television Sets per 1,000: 583.1
Television Consumption (minutes per day): 174
Number of Cable Subscribers: 1,403,440
Cable Subscribers per 1,000: 264.8
Number of Satellite Subscribers: 800,000


Satellite Subscribers per 1,000: 149.5
Number of Radio Stations: 357
Number of Radio Receivers: 6,020,000
Radio Receivers per 1,000: 1,124.6
Radio Consumption (minutes per day): 128
Number of Individuals with Computers: 2,300,000
Computers per 1,000: 429.7
Number of Individuals with Internet Access: 1,950,000
Internet Access per 1,000: 364.3
Internet Consumption (minutes per day): 10

Background & General Characteristics

The Kingdom of Denmark comprises the North Sea archipelago and islands of continental Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland. Continental Denmark has coastlines totaling 7,400 kilometers (4,600 miles) and a land border with Germany of only 67.7 kilometers (42 miles). The population of continental Denmark was estimated at 5.14 million in 1989, and projections anticipate little growth in the future. The Danes are descendants of the Norsemen (Vikings) who were dominant in Scandinavia and England during the eleventh century. The Danes are closely linked with the Swedes and Norwegians in cultural heritage and language—a derivative of East Scandinavian German. The Germans in South Jutland constitute the only non-Danish citizen minority and they comprise about 1 percent of the population. In the 1990s, an influx of Arabic Muslim workers created a new minority for which accommodations of housing, amenities, and education are made by the Danish welfare state.

The 18 Faroe Islands, with a landmass of about 1,399 square kilometers, lie to the northwest of Denmark in the Atlantic Ocean between the Shetland Islands and Iceland. During World War II, Great Britain occupied and protected the Faroes from German invasion from 1940-45. The Faroes have been governed by Denmark since the fourteenth century, but a high degree of home rule was attained in 1948 and affirmed in the revised Danish Constitution of 1953. The 45,661 inhabitants (July 2001 estimate) are primarily descendants of Viking settlers who arrived in the ninth century. The Faroese language derives from Old Norse and Danish, and is similar to Icelandic and Norwegian.

Greenland (Danish: Gronland, Greenlandic: Kalaalli Nunaat), situated in the North Atlantic, was claimed in its entirety by Denmark in May 1921. Denmark colonized Greenland in the eighteenth century at the same time it established trading companies in the West Indies. Green-land's capital, Nuuk (formerly Godthab), is the oldest Danish settlement on the island (1721). In 1917, the United States purchased the Danish West Indies islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John (now the U.S. Virgin Islands) and, at the same time, relinquished all U.S. claims to the Peary Land, the north Greenland area explored by Robert Edwin Peary. Norway's claims to land on the eastern coast settled by Norwegian fishermen were declared invalid in 1933 by the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague.

Greenland, the largest island in the world, encompasses 2.18 million square kilometers (840,000 square miles) of land and ice. Except for about 410,450 square kilometers (18,430 square miles), a polar ice sheet, glaciers and smaller ice caps cover the island. Sometimes the ice sheet reaches a depth of 4,300 meters (14,000 feet). Less than 342,000 square kilometers (132,000 square miles) are suitable for habitation. More than 90 percent of Greenland's population lives along the southern and western coasts of the island.

Greenland's population of 56,376 (2002 estimate) are Inuit (Eskimo) or Greenland-born Caucasians, and the balance are mainly Danish. The primary language is Greenlandic, a mixture of Inuit and Danish, but Danish also is an official language. The Danish Constitution of 1953 integrated Greenland into Denmark, and gave Greenland the right to elect two representatives to the Danish parliament. In a January 1979 referendum Greenlanders voted for home rule and formed their own seven-member executive body, the Landsstyre , and a 31-member parliament, the Landting .

From 1660 to 1849, Denmark was an absolute monarchy. Absolutism ended on June 5, 1849, when King Frederik VII signed a constitution that made Denmark a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral parliament modeled on that of England. However, continual conflict between the Crown and the powerful Landting (Upper House) on the one hand, and the more liberal Folketing (Lower House) on the other, led to constitutional changes in 1866, 1901, and 1953. The reforms resulted in a constitutional monarchy, unicameral legislature ( Folketing ) and a government organized by ministries that administer the present welfare state.

Newspapers came into existence in Denmark during the years of the absolute monarchy (1660-1849). Four newspapers founded in the eighteenth century still dominate the market. The oldest daily paper is the Berlingske Tidende in Copenhagen, founded by the Berling family in 1749, 35 years before The Times in London. The Berlingske Tidende adopted a moderate conservative viewpoint that appealed to the great landowners that made up the Landting and to business interests in the capital. Hence, from the beginning it has specialized in foreign and financial news as well as political debate, but also covered literature and the arts.

Three papers founded in the eighteenth century are the Stiftstidende dailies published in Aalborg (1767), Odense (1772), and Aarhus (1794). All three are independent, but the Fyens Stiftstidende in Odense expressed conservative views, while the other two took a liberal stance. Initially, each of these influential dailies published morning and evening editions. Political and social developments occurring simultaneously with industrialization during the latter half of the nineteenth century led to the establishment of a four-party political system and a parallel four-paper system.

Two major political parties that emerged from the bicameral legislature of 1849 were the Venstre (Liberal Party) and Det Konservative Folkeparti (The Conservative People's Party). A constitutional revision in 1866 led to the rise of two more political parties, the radical Social-Liberal Party ( Det Radikale Venstre ), representing small landholders and some of the intelligentsia who broke away from the Venstre in 1905; and the Social Democratic Party ( Socialdemokratiet ) that played a major role in the Danish labor movement. Each of the four political parties established a nationwide network of opinion-shaping newspapers that espoused the ideas of the party and resulted in a four-paper system.

The Venstre (Liberal Party), representing agricultural interests, and Det Konservative Folkeparti (Conservative Party) representing primarily the middle class, formed networks of about 60 newspapers each. The Berlingske Tidende and its sister paper in Copenhagen, the Nationaltidende, voiced conservative views in two editions daily. Both papers devoted sections to business interests such as shipping and agriculture, law and politics, and issued a special weekly sheet devoted to women's interests. A chief regional daily with conservative views was the Jyllandsposten (founded in 1871), a morning paper published in Aarhus. The Jyllandsposten rapidly gained a reputation for quality coverage of foreign and national business and commerce.

The Social-Liberal network grew to approximately two dozen papers, the most influential of which was Politiken (1884) in Copenhagen. Politiken became the most cosmopolitan paper in all of Scandinavia. It introduced the English system of small pages, prominent headlines, and heavy use of illustrations. Many important persons in the political and social movements of Denmark contributed columns and articles to this newspaper. Danish literature and art were well represented in its pages. Politikin 's owners also issued a successful evening paper, the Extrabladet (1904), which promoted social-liberal views.

The first Social-Democratic Party daily, the Social-Demokraten (later changed to Aktuelt ), appeared in Copenhagen in 1872. By 1900, there were 20 more Social-Democratic papers in circulation in the provinces. The Social-Democrats agitated for revision of the constitution and were instrumental in gaining recognition of the principle of parliamentary government in the constitutional revision of 1901. This ended many years of deadlock between the Folketing on one side, and the Crown and Landsting on the other. The Social-Democratic papers also played a vital role in obtaining the vote for peasants, workers, and women, and became the voice of the labor unions in Denmark.

Ironically, the government reforms of 1901 that were urged by the press, lessened to some extent the power of the press to shape opinions, as the reorganization of the government spread responsibilities among ministries and their accompanying bureaucracies.

When Henrik Cavling took over Politiken in 1905, he initiated changes in the newspaper world that would shift priority from politics to news and a broad range of social and cultural topics. The new trends in journalism set by Politiken led to steady increases in media consumption, and by 1913 there were 143 independent dailies in 30 Danish towns, reaching almost 100 percent of the Danish populace. However, the need for more reporters to serve the growing numbers of newspapers increased the costs, as did technological advances in the form of telephones, telegraph, typesetting machines and rotary presses. Between 1925 and 1938, competition for readers and advertising revenues to meet rising costs led to mergers and closures that reduced the number of daily newspapers to 60.

The surviving dailies faced competition from 15 illustrated weekly magazines with a combined circulation of 2.2 million, and 330 local district papers and advertising weeklies distributed free of charge to 1.3 million households. City newspapers increasingly focused on news and matters of general interest as well as editorial comment. Provincial dailies cultivated local material, but included hard news, background, and a range of topical interests. District weeklies reached 80-90 percent of the adult population of Denmark. Newspapers owned more than half the district weeklies, accounting for 60 percent of the total circulation.

Papers with similar content have been published, but with less than daily frequency, in Greenland (i.e., Atuagagdliutut/Gronlandposten ). Political viewpoints are more pronounced in the Faroe Islands by the moderate Dimmalaetting, the independent Dagbladid, and the state paper, the Social-Democratic Socialurin.

Weekly magazines fell into two primary categories: family and women's magazines. Typically, content was and is dominated by fashion, home and life styles, and serialized fiction. Popular early weeklies were the Familie Journal and Hjemmet. Illustrated weeklies like Ilustreret Tidende focused on news from the entertainment world. In appearance, they resembled the Illustrated London Times.

The magazine press includes highly specialized journals that focus on topics of interest to particular readers. Some are periodicals and bulletins published by trade unions and social organizations for their membership. Others are professional journals and technical publications. Two early monthlies, Tilshueren and Gads danske Magasin, were scholarly journals, while the popular Klods-Hans was a sort of Danish Punch.

World War II and the occupation of Denmark by the Germans from 1940-45 interrupted the publication of many papers, and after the war, much of the production equipment was worn out or had been destroyed. Only a few new post-World War II papers were established. These included the bipartisan Kristeligt Dagblad, the financial daily Bersen, the Communist organ Land og Folk, and Information, the latter two originally publications of the Resistance.

The Constitution of 1953 created a unicameral parliament (the Folketing ) and organized the Danish government into multiple ministries, headed by a prime minister. This led to the formation of more political parties representing special interest groups, so that the four-party system no longer applied. In the 1960s, under pressure of competition from radio and television, changes in reader interests, and increasing costs of technology, newspapers suffered a further decline. The number of Danish households receiving at least one daily paper dropped from 100 percent to 75 percent. Newspaper closures in 1958-71 coincided with the end of the four-party system and brought an end to the four-paper system at the same time.

In 1988 there were 46 general-interest dailies with a total circulation of approximately 1.85 million. Those figures have remained fairly constant. With the decrease in numbers, the national newspapers like Berlingske Tidendeand Politiken in Copenhagen, and Jyllands-Posten in Aarhus, increased their market share, while Copenhagen's midday tabloids, B.T. and Ekstrabladet, and evening papers Information and Berlingstke Aftenavis, lost almost 40 percent of their circulation. Larger regional newspapers merged with or took over the market share of smaller ones and increased circulation proportionately. Dominant regional papers remaining are Fyens Stiftstidende in Odense, Nordjyske Stiftstidinde in Aalborg, the Aarhus Stiftstidende in Aarhus, and the Jydske Vestkysten in Esbjerg.


In addition to keen competition for advertising revenue and modernization of technology, a major factor in the increased popularity of large national newspapers is the content emphasis on foreign and national news, business, and cultural coverage. Each of Copenhagen's two large morning dailies has five or six foreign correspondents plus "stringers" in various areas, though much of their foreign news comes through Ritzau's Bureau and Reuters news services. To compete with the appeal of radio and television to the general populace, the newspapers have targeted their content to well-educated people who prefer the in-depth news coverage provided by newspapers to the sound bites on radio and television.

In appearance, all the general-interest dailies have virtually the same format. Typically, the Berlingske Tidende has a seven-column page (56 x 40 cm), with week-day editions of about 40 pages and Sunday editions of up to 84 pages. The largest regional and provincial dailies run about 20 pages on weekdays, and smaller papers 12-14 pages. On average, one-third of space is devoted to advertising, but it can run as high as two-thirds in some issues. The major city dailies published in Denmark in 2000 and their circulation estimates are shown below.

According to Danish Circulation Control, five of the major dailies published in Denmark in 2000 and their circulation estimates are: Berlingske-Tidende, published in Copenhagen, founded 1749, weekday circulation of 156,000; Politiken, published in Copenhagen, founded 1884, circulation of 143,000; Edstrabladet, published in Copenhagen, founded 1904, circulation of 135,000; B.T., published in Copenhagen, founded 1916, circulation of 123,000; Jyllands-Posten, published in Aarhus, founded 1871, circulation of 180,000.

The large daily newspapers, national and regional, are quality publications, with a high content of foreign and national news, business and commerce. The smaller provincials are less formal in tone and feature more local news and culture. Large headlines, pictures and illustrations enliven the appearance, but generally, Danish newspapers avoid lurid sensationalism.

Even celebrity-oriented illustrated magazines set limits on what is appropriate to publish. According to the 1997 World Press Freedom Review, one Danish magazine editor announced on the day following the death of Britain's Princess Diana in Paris that he would no longer use photographs taken by the intrusive paparazzi. The Review also reported that in August 1997, the Danish Press Council condemned Se og Hoer (See and Hear) for publishing a French paparazzo's photographs of Danish Crown Prince Frederik and a woman companion bathing in the grounds of a French chateau.

Economic Framework

Denmark lies directly in the path of European trade flowing in all directions via the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Skagerrak. A merchant fleet of more than 1,500 ships engage in overseas trade. Inland vessels and ferries connect with a network of roads, bridges, and railroads that transport goods and people to Central Europe, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Exports include agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, motor ships, dairy equipment, cement machinery and electronic equipment. Denmark imports coal and oil from Germany, Great Britain, and the United States, and industrial raw materials from various countries.

Copenhagen (Kobenhavn), Denmark's capital and largest city, has one of the busiest airports (Kastrup) of Northern Europe. It is the terminal port for the great arc over the North Atlantic from the United States and Canada, as well as the corresponding arc across the North Pole to Japan and East Asia. Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) operates worldwide. Likewise, Copenhagen's Free Port serves 5,000-6,000 ships annually as they exchange cargoes without the expense and formalities of clearing customs. Aarhus, Odense, and Aalborg also are centers of trade and commerce.

The fishing industry, individual and cooperative, is a major factor in the Danish economy. Denmark's 12,000 fishermen bring in cod, herring, eels, lobster and shrimp from the North Sea and numerous species of freshwater fish from the coastal waters and the fjords that penetrate deep into the interior. About half the catch is sold at auction. The skippers of fishing vessels are often the owners, but customarily, the crews share in the expense and profits.

Denmark's agricultural industry is dominated by cooperatives. About 70 percent of mainland Denmark's

land area (43,094 square kilometers, 16,639 square miles) is devoted to agriculture. Approximately 179,000 medium-sized farms of 10-30 hectares (25-75 acres) account for one-half the cultivated area. About 27,000 "smallholdings" (farms of 5-10 hectares) were carved out of former large estates, but some wealthy landowners' manor houses with surrounding buildings can still be seen on the landscape.

Fifty percent of the land produces crops of cereal grains, mainly barley, but also oats, rye and wheat. The feed crops complement the grasslands in serving the important cattle and dairy industries, which provide 90 percent of all farm income. Danish animal husbandry and farming are productive due to applied scientific research in the selection of grains, soil treatment, automated milking machines and mechanized farm equipment.

Since the mid-1900s, industrial development has displaced agriculture as the most important segment of the economy. Urban industries employ about 40 percent of the labor force and contribute 40 percent of the gross national product (GNP). A third of Denmark's industrial workers are employed in manufacturing. One important export is cement, including products and expertise, as Danish engineers build cement plants at home and abroad. Denmark's largest corporation, the East Asiatic Company, Inc. (founded in 1897), has 100 branch offices and 35,000 employees worldwide. It maintains a fleet of 30 ships, and owns mines, rice mills, and rubber plantations. In Australia, the company is engaged in industry and timber. In Canada, it owns forests and operates sawmills and paper factories. In Brazil, it is in the coffee trade; in Africa, timber and auto imports.

Fishing and shipbuilding are paramount in the Faroe Islands. The rocky coasts of the Faroes provide nesting grounds for seabirds but very little arable land for agriculture. Dwarf shrubs and grassy heath are suitable for grazing sheep, so principal exports include mutton and wool, along with frozen and salted fish, and fish products such as liver oil. The Faroe Islands Dairy Centre supplies all 45,000 inhabitants in the islands with fresh milk and dairy products. The Centre serves as a cooperative, giving production and marketing assistance to producers in order to advance the quality and efficiency of Faroese agriculture. Nearby oil production in the North Sea offers hope that oil deposits will be found in the Faroes, allowing more diversification in the economy and lessening dependence upon the annual subsidy from Denmark. During World War II, the Faroe Islands were occupied and protected from German invasion by the British Navy. The Faroese import-export partners are Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Iceland, and the United States.

Greenland, with its state-of-the-art communications and meteorological stations, is important to all nations traversing the airways and seas of the North Atlantic. When Germany occupied Denmark during World War II and threatened Greenland, the Danish minister in Washington negotiated an agreement with the United States to assume protective custody over Greenland for the duration of the war. The United States invoked the Monroe Doctrine and constructed landing fields, seaplane facilities, and installations necessary to protect Greenland and the American hemisphere. In 1947 Denmark requested an end to the 1941 wartime agreement. In April 1951 a new pact was negotiated, giving Denmark control of the U.S. naval station on Greenland, providing for joint defense areas, and authorizing members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to use all naval, air, and military bases on the island. The agreement further authorized the United States to build and maintain a strategic air base at Thule in northern Greenland, about 1,500 kilometers from the North Pole.

Greenland's main industry is fishing (salmon, cod, halibut and shrimp) and dozens of fish processing plants dot the southern and western coasts. Disko Bay boasts some of the world's largest shrimp beds. In the north and east, seals, foxes and polar bears are hunted for their fur. Seabirds are hunted for meat, eggs and down. Also, the southern area provides limited areas for sheep and cattle breeding. Greenland's major exports are fish and fur. Principal trading partners are Canada, Australia, the United States, Denmark and the United Kingdom.

In 1952 the Danish government and private interests in Denmark, Sweden and Canada formed a company to exploit deposits of iron, lead, zinc, tungsten and cryolite (a mineral used in the production of aluminum) in eastern Greenland. By 1990, mining had exhausted the reserves. Deposits of coal, copper, molybdenum and uranium have been located, but not fully exploited. Thule Air Base supports a community of military and civilian personnel from the United States and Denmark.

Denmark was the first industrialized country to establish a Ministry of the Environment. But despite its advanced stage of environmental planning and worldwide activism, all of Denmark's environmental problems have not been solved. Though 98 percent of sewage is treated and sulfur dioxide emissions reduced, agricultural runoff has caused harmful algae growth in the North Sea that increasingly threatens drinking water supplies. By 1997, 32.2 percent of the country had been placed in protected areas. Denmark is still working to clean up three thousand hazardous waste sites identified in the 1980s. In 1988, in response to ecological disasters that destroyed the lobster colonies in the strait between Denmark and Sweden, the Folketing passed more rigorous measures to protect the environment.

Denmark includes Greenland and the Faroes in regional and international environmental agreements pertaining to air pollution and the ozone layer, ship pollution and marine life, climactic changes, endangered species and habitats. In 1985 the Folketing passed legislation against the future construction of nuclear power plants in Denmark and agreed to help establish a Nordic nuclear-free zone.

Denmark joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949, the European Free Trade Association (1959), and the European Economic Community, now known as the European Union (1972). In 1992 Danish voters rejected the Maastricht Treaty, which provided for increased integration of currency and politics with the European Union, creating considerable political controversy within the government. Denmark remains a member of the EU, and elects 16 members of the European parliament. Greenland joined the EU with Denmark in 1972, but withdrew in 1985 due to a dispute over fishing quotas. The Faroe Islands are not part of the EU.

Press Laws

Freedom of the press is guaranteed under Denmark's Constitution of 1849, and this right is respected in practice. The chief limitation of fair comment in speech and writing has been to protect the privacy and reputation of the individual. Most press libel cases since World War II have hinged on this issue. Libel cases have rarely resulted in sentences of imprisonment, but in those few cases where it has, terms in prison have never exceeded three months. Under press law, legal responsibility for a signed article rests with the author, but for the unsigned article and other materials, legal responsibility rests with the editor. The trend in interpreting press law is toward increased freedom for journalists to protect sources. A special national agency operates as a "corrections board" to hear complaints about a newspaper's refusal or failure to print a correction of any factual material that has been incorrectly or wrongfully printed, and a fine may be imposed if the board holds the paper liable.

A new legal provision, resulting from the Danish experience under the Nazis, declares that no citizen may be deprived of liberty because of political or religious convictions or descent. The official state-supported church is Evangelical Lutheran, to which 91 percent of the Danes belong. Citizens do have the right to form other congregations for the worship of God. Citizens cannot be required to pay taxes to support a denomination to which they do not belong, but neither are they permitted to form a religious group and engage in practices that are "at variance with good morals or public order." This affects the press indirectly, in that aberrant religious practices may become the subject of reporting and editorial comment.

The 1997 World Press Freedom Review reported that for the first time in Denmark's history, a prison sentence was handed down for threats made against a journalist. The case grew out of a three-year war between the Hells Angels and Bandidos biker gangs that left 12 people dead and more than 70 wounded. The gangs threatened journalists who covered the trials. One Bandido was jailed for two months for threatening Per Rasmussun, a freelance photographer filming outside the court building where a Bandido member was on trial. Two other Bandidos were tried for making repeated visits to the home of photographer Flemming Keith Karlsen and threatening him with death. Conviction of the Bandidos was seen as a major victory for the press.


For more than 200 years under the absolute monarchy, Denmark's newspapers were subject to censorship. Since the adoption of the Constitution of 1849, which guaranteed freedom of the press, the Danish government has exercised no control over the press. Nor has it attempted to control the flow of news and information from government administrative agencies to the press.

The only exception is the censorship exercised by the Germans who occupied Denmark during World War II. A 1939 non-aggression pact with Germany allowed the Danes a measure of control over their legal and domestic affairs until 1943. But in 1943-1945, rigid censorship was imposed, and all publications were compelled to print only the news and articles approved by the Nazis.

State-Press Relations

Denmark's newspapers consistently have opposed direct financial aid from the government, but as an increasing number of newspapers failed, government expanded its indirect subsidies to the press. Subsidies take the form of relief from value-added taxes, reduced rates for telephone and postal charges, and government payments for agency advertisements and printing the results of the national lottery. Low-interest loans also are available from the government-created Financial Institution of the Daily Press to which the government makes annual contributions.

The Joint Council of Danish Newspapers ( Danske Dagblades Faellesrepraesentation ) is made up of representatives of political associations, editors and publishers. Founded in 1936, this organization speaks to the authorities and the general public on behalf of the newspapers. The council has developed a code of ethics and a directive treatise on Good Press Habits in Reporting Criminal Cases. The Danish Press Council (Pressenaevnet) was established in 1965 for the purpose of passing judgment on interpretations and alleged violations of the code.

Most newspapers are members of the Danish Newspaper Publishers Union. The union handles common economic issues with the exception of wage agreements with typographical workers, which are handled by a special employers' union. On occasion, the government may be called upon to mediate a labor dispute such as the 1977 strike that shut down Berlinske Tidende and two other newspapers for six months.

The government has exerted greater control of radio and television media. From 1925 to 1964, the state maintained a monopoly over radio broadcasts, and from 1962 to 1998, a state monopoly of television.

Radio Denmark (Danmarks Radio or DR), an independent public monopoly, has sole rights to present radio and television broadcasts under the Broadcasting Act ( Radioloven ) of June 11, 1959. Until May 1987 a governing Radio Council ( Radioradet ) operated under the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. The council was charged with responsibility to establish general principles that govern the content and quality of programs. In May 1987 the Folketing passed legislation that replaced the Radio Council with an 11-member governing board. The Minister of Communications names the chair; the political parties in the Folketing select nine members; and DR personnel choose one. The board appoints the director-general of DR, and has overall responsibility for DR's operations.

A Program Committee advises the board. It is composed of 21 members, one-third chosen by listeners' and viewers' associations, two-thirds chosen by organizations representing business, labor, education, religion, art, sports, and consumers. The Program Committee authorizes program plans, suggests additional broadcast series, discusses political items and events, elections, and parliamentary transmissions that impact upon broadcast content and schedules. Complaints about DR are heard by a three-member independent agency.

DR operates two public television stations. Both are subject to public service obligations with regard to news and educational programming. Since 1988, local commercial television stations have been permitted to broadcast advertising. Since 1997, television stations are allowed to form networks. The government appoints a five-member board to manage the commercial station, TV2. Advertising commercials may be run only at the beginning and end of a program. No advertising is permitted for medicines, beer, wine, spirits or tobacco. No ads may be run for special interest organizations, political parties, or religious groups. DR is required to meet public service requirements, but commercial stations like TV2 are not.

In 1983 the Folketing enacted a temporary law, made permanent in 1987, allowing the operation of local and private radio and television stations. Stations must acquire a permit to operate from a board appointed by the municipal government. Stations cannot be operated or controlled by commercial interests or newspapers, but they may make agreements with newspapers to supply news programming. They are allowed to sell time to political parties and religious entities.

News Agencies

Ritzau's Bureau, founded in 1866, is the primary supplier of national and international news to Danish media. Since 1947 Ritzau's Bureau has been owned cooperatively by the Danish press. The Bureau disseminates more than 10,000 words of foreign copy per day, of which 50-55 percent comes from Reuters, 25-30 percent from AFP, and 6-7 percent each from DPA and the Swedish TT. Ritzau's Bureau handles all distribution of Danish news abroad. Content of the foreign-bound material is about 86 percent news and 11 percent information.

There is an International Press Center in Copenhagen, where the Foreign Ministry's Press and Information Department provides services to the Foreign Press and the foreign correspondents of Danish media. The Association of Danish Newspapers, Danish District Weeklies, and Danish Specialist Press, all headquartered in Copenhagen, serve their respective newspapers and other publications. Most Copenhagen papers import newsprint and equipment through a cooperative purchasing agency, and share distribution costs through their own agency, the A/S Bladkompagniet.

Broadcast Media

Amateur radio broadcasts began in Denmark about 1920, and by 1923 three Copenhagen newspapers were broadcasting news via radio. In 1925 Statsradiofonien, a state radio monopoly was established that lasted until 1964. During the 1930s, radio became an important news media, reaching 75 percent of all Danish households. In 1959, competing radio newscasts were replaced by a single radio news service (Pressens Radioavis, renamed Danmarks Radio or DR), with major newspapers editing the news. Additional radio channels were added in 1963-1964 when the state monopoly was broken.

DR operates four channels: Programme 1 (P1) broadcasts information and cultural programs; Programme 2 (P2musik) airs mainly classical music; Programme 3 (P3) is a music and news channel aimed at younger listeners; and Programme 4 (P4) broadcasts regional news and entertainment. In 1983, local radio stations appeared, initially financed by voluntary contributions from various organizations, but since 1988 also by advertising. Radio 2, a national commercial station, has been on the air since 1997.

DR began television news transmissions in 1953. Though the state television monopoly was not broken until 1988, the rapid growth of satellite and cable television channels posed serious competition for newspapers, tabloids and weekly entertainment magazines. In 1996 DR added a second television channel.

On October 1, 1988, TV2 began transmissions and in October 2000, TV2 added a second channel. The first commercial station in Denmark was TV3, owned by the international media group SBS, which began broadcasting from London via satellite on January 1, 1988. Since April 1997, TvDanmark has broadcast in eight regions, with programming primarily focused on entertainment and regional news. Since 2000, TvDanmark has operated two channels.

The four public service stations are partly or fully financed by license fees.

In 1999, DR channels 1 and 2 garnered 31 percent of the viewing audience, while TV2's share was 36 percent. TV3 gained 11 percent, and TvDanmark 8 percent. All other channels shared 14 percent of the market. The market report estimates that the average Danish viewer watches television for 2 hours and 38 minutes per day.

Radio Denmark has radio and television studios at Copenhagen, Aarhus, Abenra, Aalborg, and Odense. In 1986 there were 49 radio transmitters serving 2.05 million receivers and 32 television transmitters with 1.95 million receivers. Though TV2 generates advertising revenues, radio and television are financed primarily from license fees required of all radio and television set owners. Usually, the television license also covers radio use, but if the household has no television, it must have a license for radio receivers only. Radio licenses cost about one-fourth the fee for television licenses. A reduced fee applies for senior citizens and disabled pensioners.

Radio Greenland (Kalaalit Nunaata Radio or KNR) is an independent public entity administered by a seven-man board appointed by the Greenland government. A management committee operates KNR-Radio and KNRTV, broadcasting daily radio and television programs throughout Greenland. KNR-TV annually broadcasts about 300 hours in Greenlandic and 2,000 hours in Danish. It also transmits television news from DR daily. KNR-Radio broadcasts 2,500 hours in Greenlandic, 900 in Danish, and 2,200 hours of music each year. KNR has news departments in Nuuk, North and South Greenland and Copenhagen, and delivers news to Greenlanders in both Greenlandic and Danish languages. Local radio and television productions are culturally oriented, and financed partly by advertising revenue. KNR has its own production studios in Nuuk, the capital, where it employs about 120 people.

Faroese Radio is not under the jurisdiction of DR, but like Greenland, cooperates with it. Faroe Islanders are served by the state radio Utvaap Foroya, and Ras 2 radio station. Sjonvarp Faroya (SvF), the Faroes' national television company, is the only television station broadcasting in Faroese. The station transmits 40 hours a week, covering news, documentaries, entertainment, culture, sports and drama. The station employs 35 people plus 15-20 freelance workers and specialists. The station reaches about 13,000 households throughout the islands. Surveys confirm that SvF commands 70-80 percent of viewers, especially for local news and productions.

The Voice of Denmark shortwave radio service transmits daily 45-minute programs in Danish and 30-minute programs in Spanish and English. Transmissions are beamed to South America, North America, the Far East, Southern Asia, Africa and Greenland. Programs are generally free of political propaganda; they focus on news, commentaries, and interviews related to events in Denmark. The primary purpose of the foreign broadcasts is to promote a broader awareness of Denmark and its culture. A related publication, The Voice of Denmark, is published four times a year, and provides information about the shortwave broadcasts in Danish, English and Spanish. The expansion of broadcast media has placed increasing pressure on the print media, particularly tabloids and weekly entertainment magazines.

Electronic Media

Most major radio and television channels in Denmark have established Internet services to provide news updates, essays, film and other services, in Denmark, Greenland and the Faroes. Thirty-one Denmark newspapers provide online services. Media outlets with the resources to provide Internet services have a strong advantage in the advertising market. In the 1970s and 1980s, electronic media, radio and television took over much of the advertising market that had been dominated by the print media in the 1960s.

Education and Training

Denmark has a nine-year compulsory education system beginning at age seven. The education obligation may be fulfilled in the free municipal Folkeskole or private school, or by home schooling. In 1993 the Danish Parliament adopted a new Folkeskole Act, which led to numerous reforms aimed at achieving a balance between subject-specific and general education during the nine years of compulsory education. After completing the required education, the student make proceed to upper secondary education at either of two levels: general education qualifying for access to higher education, or vocational or technical education qualifying for access to the labor market.

All higher education is free to students, and all institutions are funded by the state, though they are self-governing and independent as to program offerings and budget decisions. The student may select the short-cycle non-university program of one to three years to study technical programs, market economics, or train as a computer specialist. These programs are primarily offered at business and technical colleges. The medium-cycle university programs of three to fours years comprise the bachelor's degree programs of universities and other higher education institutions in the university sector. The institutions collectively offer a diverse range of professional training choices in education, liberal arts, science, and medicine, in which a student may prepare for a profession or move toward a university master's degree program. The long-cycle higher education program of five to six years is research-based and offered by institutions in the university sector.

All institutions of higher education in Denmark are free to admit as many qualified applicants as they have space and qualified faculty to teach. There are no entrance examinations for students, but they must be recommended by the secondary school they attended. Each institution establishes its own criteria of selection if it cannot admit all applicants. State funding grants to the institutions are based on the specific programs offered and the number of active students per year.

The government operates a school for journalists in Aarhus, which graduates about 200 students each year. The program consists of 18 months of study, 18 months of practical experience, and a final year of study. In addition, there are vocational colleges and institutions for training production technicians in print media, radio and television, and electronic media.


The Danish press has made steady progress in quality and diversification for more than a hundred years, although faced by wars, political upheavals and financial reverses. The dominant positions of several large daily newspapers founded in the eighteenth century speaks to their survival capabilities and to the Danish people's attachment to their newspapers. Without doubt, the newspapers shall maintain their constitutional freedoms, despite the indirect government subsidies they accept to lower costs.

The shift to radio and television for mass media consumption is global, and newspapers have taken the competition in stride, adjusting their services to include use of the mass media outlets of radio, television and the Internet.

It remains to be seen whether the government will relinquish its remaining controls over radio and television and allow unfettered competition. The rapid growth from two to eight television stations after the state monopoly was broken may have evoked a slowdown in the government's relaxation of restrictions in order to avoid the financial instability that often comes with rapid expansion. Economic contractions in the private sector may have severe impact on the advertising revenue of the media. Government subsidies and capital outlay for communications facilities are dependent upon projected revenues from license fees and taxes—major factors in decisions to limit or encourage growth.

The Danish press has diversified in the face of competition, and thereby increased the depth and quality of programming in newspapers, radio and television. One concern is maintaining credibility in the national media as coverage increasingly reflects the violence and immorality existing in the global society.

Another factor that may influence the future of the media is whether the Faroese and the Greenlanders will be content with home rule status or will seek complete independence from Denmark.

The Danish press—print, broadcast, and electronic—seems well able to adapt to circumstances. Constitutional freedom of the press is exercised by the print media, while radio and television are partly funded and controlled by the state. Media consumption increases along with the varieties of media. Even as the electronic media inspires more consumption of programs with international orientation, there is a corresponding rise in interest in media focused on local communities and national identity.

The Internet is both a challenge and an opportunity for the print and broadcast media to expand their reach and influence to audiences beyond Denmark, and to promote awareness of Danish culture and society at home and abroad. From its past performance and history, Denmark's press seems well able to meet the challenge and take advantage of the opportunities.

Significant Dates

  • 1997: Commercial Radio 2 began broadcasting nationally. Television stations received permission to form networks and expand.
  • 1999: Two Danmarks Radio (state) television channels, DR1 and DR2, lost market dominance to commercial station TV2.
  • 2000: Commercial television station TV2 began broadcasting on two channels, and TvDanmark implemented broadcasts on two channels.
  • 2001: Internet site designers in Denmark increased by 85 percent in one year.
  • 2002: Thirty-one Danish newspapers and two in the Faroe Islands provide services via electronic media.


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"Denmark." In 1999 World Press Freedom Review. Available from .

"Faroe Islands." Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In The World Factbook. Available from .

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Harvey, William J., and Christian Reppien. Denmark and the Danes: A Survey of Danish Life, Institutions and Culture. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1915, 1970.

Kurian, George Thomas. Facts on File: National Profiles, Scandinavia. New York and Oxford: R.R. Donnelley & Sons, 1990.

Logan, F. Donald. The Vikings in History. Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble Books, 1983.

——. Denmark: A Troubled Welfare State. Boulder, San Francisco and Oxford: Westview Press, 1991.

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Rying, Bent, Editor-in-Chief. Denmark: An Official Handbook. Copenhagen: Krak, for Press and Information Department, Denmark Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1970.

Marguerite R. Plummer , Ph.D.

Also read article about Denmark from Wikipedia

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Jul 7, 2010 @ 11:11 am
How has demography, culture, economy, and political environment influenced the media(or advertising) in denmark?

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