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Denmark: a cruder journalistic culture

Danish journalists have recently started with increasing frequency to use unscrupulous methods to obtain stories. The tabloid Se og Hør, for instance, in 2014 paid bribes to the staff of credit card companies and hospitals to get hold of information about celebrities. And the 2011 parliamentary elections were preceded by a dirty campaign to discredit the social democrat candidate by publishing details of her love life.

Editor at the magazine 'Se og Hoer'.
© picture-alliance/dpa

The reason behind the cruder practices in journalistic culture is the ever tougher competition in the Danish media for money and readers. A recent change in media legislation supported by all parliamentary parties made Internet media eligible for subsidies alongside the traditional media. And because there are now so many electronic media, the pie has to be divided into ever smaller pieces.

The media crisis is also making itself felt in Denmark, where the major national media organs continue to register declines in print runs and advertising revenues, while the print runs of regional and local newspapers are starting to rise again slightly. In 2013, 2.2 million of the 5.6 million Danes read a printed daily newspaper, 11 percent fewer than the previous year. By contrast, 2.5 million readers use newspapers' online portals, an increase of 9 percent. The newspaper publishers are therefore trying to earn money via paywalls – currently with only moderate success.

Some newspapers could only be rescued by being sold. The Belgian media concern De Persgroep, for example, took over the company Berlingske Media from the Mecom media group in June 2014. This was viewed as a positive move, because the concern already had experience in integrating print and digital media. Denmark has no serious political blog culture. Most popular blogs are devoted to fashion and gourmet cooking. Twitter is used by journalists and politicians but is not often cited as a source.

Public radio and television are financed via license fees. Plans to privatise the country's second TV channel, TV2 were abandoned and instead it became a pay channel. In the sphere of radio there are around fifteen private stations alongside the public ones. The latest addition is Radio24syv, operated by the media publishers Berlingske Media.

Press Freedom Index:

Reporters without Borders: 3rd place (2015)
Freedom House: 6th place (2014)

This country's media at euro|topics


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