Norway

.. lue-added tax or VAT, on newspapers in Norway (www.ssb.no.) Most of the large newspapers are Conservative or Liberal (www.odin.dep.no.) Newspapers and television are the most widely used media in Norway. Television Norwegians had their first real taste of television through the spillover effect of Swedish TV and Danish TV. There are two Norwegian channels that cover the entire country. One is 30 year-old NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Channel) which is a network of TV, radio, news, sports, culture, drama, and entertainment (www.odci.gov.) The NRK used to be state-owned but in 1988 it was transformed into a public trust. This may have given the institution more independence but regardless, important decisions about the economy and organizational structure were taken by the Parliament.

NRK was financed by television license fees and special tax on radio and TV equipment which was also set by Parliament (Ostybe, 1993.) NRK is not a local channel; therefore, anyone who has a television set must pay the NRK license. The laws in Norway make it impossible for TV stations to interrupt shows with commercials (Ostybe, 1993.) Advertising in the media was localized in 1991 but contained restrictions (www.odin.dep.no) Ads promoting alcohol, tobacco are prohibited and the Act also does not permit advertisements directed at children. The age group of 67 and older is by far the largest age group that watches TV. The group of 9-15 year-olds watches half as much TV as the elderly (www.odin.de.no) Recently, NRK became a joint stock company and the state has become the sole owner. The Board is disappointed by the government but is not responsible for the editorial contents.

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These contents are the responsibility of the Director General (www.odin.dep.no.) Norways second channel, TV2 opened five years ago and is owned by three media corporations: Schibstel, Egmont, and A-pressen (Ostergaard, 1992.) The purpose of TV2 was to contribute to the preservation of Norwegian language, culture, and identity. TV2 was required to have at least one newscast per day and a given percentage of the programs were produced in Norway. TV2 is very popular today and is a major competitor to NRK (www.odin.dep.no.) Radio The most important position radio ever had in Norway was during WWII when it was used as to transmit news from the British Isles (Ostybe, 1993) The NRK used to be a state monopoly and was financed by public license fees. Only one channel existed until 1981 when a second was introduced followed by the third channel in 1993. The topography of Norway makes it difficult in distributing main programming to the entire population, which is the goal of the NRK.

The transmitter system enables the NRK to divide the country into 17 regional units to manage the transmission of their programs (Ostergaard, 1992.) The Sami population has their own radio programs. The government has posed regulations on the industry for decades. In 1987 the Broadcasting Act made local radio permanent and accepted advertising in local radio (Weymouth & Lamizet, 1996) The drawback was that a tax was introduced on the revenues from broadcasting advertisements. This income would be used to subsidize local radio stations in areas where economic foundations were too weak to support a station. The Act treated local TV in the same way that local radio was treated, with the exception of the commercials (Ostybe, 1993.) In 1993, the first private radio company, P4, was established. The Mass Media Authority licenses this station and all private radio stations.

Mainstream music and news dominate programming at P4. This station targets young adults and covers 93% of the population (Weymouth & Lamizet, 1996.) After advertising was allowed in the media in 1991, P4 rapidly gained a substantial share of radio advertising. The radio today is not as popular as before. There are approximately 3.3 million radios in Norway. This includes zero short-wave radio stations, 350 radio stations that are private and 143 radio stations owned by the Government.

In 1991, 87% of Norwegians had access to the radio. In 1996, 90% of the population had access. The average person listens to the radio for 161 minutes per day which is regarded as moderate radio listening compared to other countries. As with television viewing, young people listen less than older generation (www.odci.gov.) By the end of 1996, another reform reduced the number of licensed stations to 308, which had to share 220 transmitter systems. In turn, stations had to split airtime. Approximately 100 stations were run by religious organizations, five by political parties, five by schools and the rest by other organizations (www.odin.dep.no.) Weekly Magazines The total circulation of weekly magazines is approximately 2.7 million (www.ssb.no) Weekly magazines must pay a value-added tax.

Orkle is the co-owner along with Egmont of Denmark, of a group of 21 magazines that have a total circulation of 1.3 million (www.odci.gov.) The Danish publishing house, Aller, has a Norwegian subsidiary. This subsidiary owns nine magazines, including the largest of them all, Serg og Hor (Look and Listen.) (www.ssb.no.) This publication specializes in news about celebrities and entertainment (Ostergaard, 1992.) One out of fine Norwegians read a weekly magazine on an average day. The reading has not changed a great deal over the last few years (www.ssb.no.) Internet Norway is fourth place on the list of Internet connection per capita. Fifteen percent of the population uses it weekly. Nearly seven percent use the Internet daily (www.ssb.no.) In the past years, Internet has spread and more people are learning English as their first foreign language.

Conclusion National media politics have always been important in Norway. During most of the 1980s, the Parliament and the Government played an important role in the formation if the Norwegian Mass Media System. Although advancements in the system have been made such as TV2 and legalizing advertising, there is still evidence of a strong constitutional monarchy. In 1980, there was only one broadcasting institution, NRK, who owned one radio channel and one television channel. Few European countries had so few radio and TV channels. Many changes occurred in 1980 which have brought Norway in line with the rest of Europe.

There have been changes in the local and regional levels. Local radio stations and local TV have been a success. At the regional level, newspapers have fared well. Nationally, the NRK has increased the number of channels from one to three and the two national tabloids, the VG and Dagbladet, have increased circulation. Currently, NRK faces competition from local television and radio stations. The media structure is less rigid than before.

It is apparent at the international level that Norway is still a receiving country. This is in part due to government restrictions. Norway is influenced by other cultures such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Structural changes have been very easy to see yet all forms of media, will continue to change. Personal Comment Before I started any research on Norway, I did not know an extensive amount of information on the country.

Norway is not a country that one hears too much about in school. I knew where it was located and the type of government but I did not know any specifics about the media system. I was in Europe last semester and one of my closest friends was from Denmark. All Nordic countries have similar rules and laws and I was able to learn more about these countries from my friend. I think that I have come away from my research and this paper with a great understanding of how the country runs and the political effects on the media.

I have found the most popular forms of media in Norway such as newspapers, television, and radio to still have some regulation by the government. I also was able to draw some comparisons with Norway and the United States on issues such as subsidies, advertising and regulation. Bibliography CIA-The World Factbook 1999-Norway. (1999). (www.odci.gov/publications/factbook/no.html). Lamizet, Bernard, Weymouth, Tony (1996). Markets & Myths Forces for Change in the European Media.

New York: Longman. Ostergaard, Bernt Stubbe (1992). The Media In Western Europe. London: Sage Publications Ltd. Ostybe, Helge (Ed.) (1993). Nordicom Review of Nordic Mass Communication Research. (vol.

2) Bergen. Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (1998). Norway. ODIN. (http://odin.dep.no/ud/publ/1998/statistikk/en/tit le.html).

Statistics Norway. (1999). (www.ssb.no).