During the coronavirus crisis, traditional investigative journalism has benefitted from a rising interest, especially in subjects related to healthcare.
Despite being a country of only 5.8 million inhabitants, Denmark has 8 national newspapers (Politiken, Berlingske, Morgenavisen Jyllands Posten, etc.), 5 national radio channels, 2 public television stations and 8 regional television channels. The recent years have seen a rise of online-only outlets. Media in general enjoy a high brand loyalty, while the Danish audience has a particular preference for the public media (Denmarks Radio, TV2), which has been further strengthened among young people during the Covid crisis. The Danish public has a high level of distrust in social networks, but also in the local media.
Politicians and institutions are respectful of press freedom overall. In late 2021, police and defense intelligence agencies undertook what was an extraordinary attempt to intimidate journalists and to threaten the secrecy of their sources, while referring to legal clauses related to high treason, although they are never applied during times of peace. Without providing any specific information or reasons for their decision, the agencies warned the media against publishing classified information related to national security under the threat of prison sentences.
While it provides a solid foundation for the protection of press freedom and journalists, the legislative framework has not evolved recently, and the Freedom of Information Law adopted in 2014 continues to be criticized by the media as an obstacle to the right to inform. The law allows the institutions to be more restrictive and withhold public information.
The subsidy system provides most of the funding to the public broadcasters, the rest being allocated to privately-owned media. The money is distributed by public institutions according to a principle of independence. In the case of broadcasters, the intermediary institution is the media regulator which - albeit appointed by the government - represents various media expert views. As elsewhere in the world, tech giants like Google and Facebook take away an important market share in advertisement which undermines the business model of the Danish private media.
In general, journalists enjoy a high level of acceptance in society. However, the sometimes heated public debate on immigration has resulted in a certain scepticism towards the media and occasional hostility in some areas of the big cities.
A big controversy has been caused by the revelations of sexism inside the Danish media which shocked the media managers and the public. A documentary on current practices within the TV2 channel prompted the media to take measures to better protect female journalists, change the newsroom culture and implement a new code of conduct. On the whole, Danish journalists work freely and are not subject to any significant threats.