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Historic Danish orchestra might survive after all

A majority of parliament is against the decision to eliminate the Danish National Chamber Orchestra but interfering with DR's internal decisions goes against the spirit of the public broadcaster's deal with the state.

Historic Danish orchestra might survive after all
There is a political majority against closing the Danish National Chamber Orchestra. Photo: Jonas Skovbjerg Fogh/Scanpix
Public broadcaster DR’s decision to shutter a 75-year-old orchestra has ruffled feathers since it was announced in September. Now it looks like it might not happen after all. 
 
A political majority is against the decision to close down the 42-person Danish National Chamber Orchestra (DR’s UnderholdningsOrkestret), putting Culture Minister Marianne Jelved in an awkward position. 
 
When Jelved sits down with DR officials later this month to discuss the broadcaster’s new public-service contract, she will do so knowing that there is a majority in parliament that opposes DR’s budget cutting decision. But getting overly involved in DR’s operations goes against the ‘arms’ length principle' in place between the Danish state and the public broadcaster. 
 
 
Opposition parties Venstre, the Danish People’s Party and the Conservatives, along with the left-wing Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) are all against the move and they say that Jelved simply can’t ignore the political resistance to shutting down the orchestra.
 
“When they go to negotiate the public-service contract, they need to have all [of parliament] on board. We might as well say it once and for all: the Danish National Chamber Orchestra will not be shut down,” Enhedslisten’s Jørgen Arbo-Bæhr told DR’s news division. 
 
Arbo-Bæhr called it “immoral” that DR is moving to close down the orchestra despite being obligated to operate it under the public-service contract, which is periodically renovated with the Culture Ministry. 
 
The ruling Social Democrats said politicians should not interfere with how DR meets its budget goals and reminded his colleagues that they are the ones who reached a media agreement that called for DR to cut millions from its operating budget. 
 
“It was the conservative parties that took the lead in relation to DR’s cuts and limitations. So I find it hard to understand why they don’t subsequently have confidence in, and respect for, the savings plan that the management has put forth. For me, it’s all a bit hypocritical and populist,” Social Democrat spokesman Troels Ravn told DR. 
 
The proposed closing of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra was part of a plan to cut 161 million kroner per year from DR’s budget. In addition to eliminating the orchestra, DR also called for the elimination of up to 200 jobs. 
 
The Danish National Chamber Orchestra enjoyed a bit of time in the international spotlight recently when a video of musicians performing after eating hot chills went viral. It has now been seen over two million times. If you missed it the first time around, here it is again:

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MEDIA

Denmark’s news media suffer as country’s viewing, reading habits change

Although the general economy in Denmark is strong, the country’s media industry experienced reduced turnover between 2016 and 2017.

Denmark’s news media suffer as country’s viewing, reading habits change
File photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The figures, released by the culture ministry’s Agency for Culture and Palaces on Tuesday, show a three percent fall in turnover between 2016 and 2017, from 29.3 billion kroner to 28.5 billion kroner.

Print media such as magazines, daily newspapers, local newspapers and weeklies were hit particularly hard during the period, and even television and streaming experienced a four percent loss of turnover in 2017.

But publishers and radio saw growth during the same period, according to the ministry analysis.

Agency for Culture and Palaces special consultant Anders Sebastian Kauffeldt said that there had been a clear change in media consumption habits in Denmark.

“It is obvious that Danes’ media habits are changing apace. We are reading fewer print newspapers, and more and more of us are using foreign streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, rather than watching television on traditional channels,” Kauffeldt said in a press statement.

“That trend is hitting the media industry particularly hard, and it saw an overall three percent loss of turnover in 2017,” he added.

“Worst-hit were news and current affairs media like daily and local newspapers, which saw a decrease of six percent,” he continued.

The analysis also shows that a relatively small number of Danish and foreign media companies are responsible for the majority of the country’s media turnover.

Two prominent Danish corporations, JP/Politikens Hus and Egmont, constitute 32 percent of the country’s total media takings. Both companies have a turnover of over 1 billion kroner.

Meanwhile, 59 percent of people who work in Denmark’s media industry live within the greater Copenhagen area.

READ ALSO: Danes spend almost one third of the day consuming media: report

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