Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 10:10 GMT

Freedom of the Press 2008 - Denmark

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 29 April 2008
Cite as Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2008 - Denmark, 29 April 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4871f5fd21.html [accessed 17 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Status: Free
Legal Environment: 2 (of 30)
Political Environment: 3 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 5 (of 30)
Total Score: 10 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)

Freedom of speech and expression are protected in Section 77 of the constitution, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. However, certain legal restrictions exist for libel, blasphemy, and racism. In July, a group of Danish Muslim organizations was forced to pay Pia Kjaersgaard of the Danish People's Party US $7,400 after losing a libel case that they brought against her. Kjaersgaard was accused of libeling a group of Muslims by calling their trip to the Middle East in 2006 "treasonous", when they traveled abroad to raise awareness of controversial Mohammad cartoons. In an unprecedented legal move, an Icelandic bank, Kaupthing Bank, is attempting to sue Danish newspaper, Ekstra Bladet, in a British court for libel, the first time a Danish paper has been sued abroad. In 2006, the paper ran a series of articles accusing bank employees of being 'tax fiddlers' for a scheme that involved attempting to avoid paying taxes in Denmark by transferring funds between countries. The newspaper translated the articles into English and posted them on the internet, making them vulnerable to legal action in England. The case was still pending at the year's end.

The private print press is vibrant, though many papers have political affiliations. Government subsidies are available to the press, as are low-interest loans for struggling newspapers. State-run television and radio broadcasting is financed by an annual license fee. TV2 is a privately-run but government owned television network, and satellite and cable television is also available. In Greenland, a journalist was forced out of her position at public broadcaster KRN after she reported critically on a state-owned tannery. The broadcaster was concerned that her reporting would "put Greenland in a potentially bad light." In March 2007, reporters at public broadcaster DR forced program cancellations when they walked out in protest over planned workforce cuts. Over 300 employees will lose their jobs to save money for the broadcaster whose budget for a new headquarters building is running 250 percent higher than originally planned. A follow up protest occurred in June, as employees expressed concern that the cuts will cause the quality of programming to suffer. Separately, it was found that over 10 percent of the Danish population does not pay the obligatory annual license fee, costing DR approximately 641,418,158 DKK (US$138 million) per year. The government does not restrict use of the internet, which was accessed by 70 percent of the population in 2007.

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