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Scandinavian States: Media Systems

Lennart Weibull and Ingela Wadbring


The Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden are individually small but together have a population of more than 25 million people. Historically there are strong links between them and they have to a large extent a common history, which also includes much warfare up to the beginning of the nineteenth century. The languages of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are very similar, whereas those of Finland and Iceland are different from the others. The countries are socially homogeneous, but this is changing because of immigration, especially in metropolitan areas. Nordic politics is characterized by strong parties and strong organizations. There is a clear left/right dimension in political preferences, but most countries are governed by middle-of-the-road politics. The Nordic political communication system has been characterized as democratic corporatist by Hallin and Mancini (2004) , which means (1) a strong political media tradition, which originated in the press but also affects radio and television; (2) an independent journalistic profession devoted to political coverage; (3) acceptance of state intervention in media structure, but not in content. A basic characteristic of the Nordic countries is a daily press that is highest in the world in terms of newspaper penetration. The first newspapers were published in the mid-seventeenth century, Ordinari Post Tijdender ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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