Denmark Media Profile

Denmark Government and Media


Government Type: Parliamentary Democracy /Constitutional Monarchy
Head of State: Margrethe II of Denmark
Head of Government: Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen
Political Party: The Social Democratic Party
Political Position: Center-Left


World Press Freedom Rank: Denmark  3/180

The internet outpaces print newspapers as a news source and the circulation figures of most print media are declining steadily.

Reporters Without Borders say in Denmark, Freedom of the press is guaranteed under Denmark’s Constitution, citing “Denmark has recovered the position had in 2015, and lost after Swedish journalist Kim Wall’s murder near Copenhagen in 2017 by Danish inventor Peter Madsen, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in March 2018.”

Government Influence on Media: Denmark is dominated by public service media (PSM) which consists of Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) that runs both TV and radio channels as well as TV2.  Compared to other Nordic Countries the press is small in Denmark. The state provides direct (direct grants which support news production) and indirect subsidies (tax reliefs and exemptions) to media. In 2018, the center-right government decreased funding for public media and decided to phase out the license fee over a five year period starting Jan. 2019, and increased subsidies for private media. However, when the Social Democrats took over power as of 2019, the plans have been up for debate once more. In 2020, due to the Covid-19 virus, Danish Government increased its funding to the media due to decreased advertising revenue. For example, in April 2020 the media received 368.1 million DKK and on top of that, an additional 180 million DKK for those that have lost more than 30% ad revenue. The reliance on government funding to offset decreased advertising revenue may result in the media being less likely to be critical of the Government.

The Danish Press Council operates under the Danish Media Liability Act and it oversees complaints about the media. It is chaired by a supreme court judge and consists of a chairman, a vice-chairman, and 6 other members who are appointed by the Minister of Justice. The Danish Press Council takes these complaints and rules whether the source is conforming to “sound press ethics.” The Press Council will write a response to the offender and the source may respond back in return, but there is no punishment for violations. The act does not give a complete description of sound press ethics.

In conclusion, Denmark has an established tradition of Government support which recently increased due to covid-19. This may cause media to increasingly become dependent on press subsidies that might hurt the very notion of a free press. However, at this time Denmark still scores high in press freedom according to Reporters Without Borders, but this may decrease with increased reliance on Government funding.

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Ekstra Bladet

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