Working as a freelancer planning one’s activities a year ahead is not easy. For me it has seldom been successful. Actually, in many ways a quality of life in itself. The year 2018 however came close being an exception. Last year I decided to clear my calendar from a number of fixed obligations and to keep it free of even tempting new offers. That meant, among other things, the end of 13 years on the boards of CARE Denmark and CARE International and reducing the number of lectures and other activities.
Instead, I have tried to focus my work on writing a book on the challenges to Public Service Media, caused by both technodriven competition and especially changing political-ideological surroundings. A relevant opportunity to analyze this theme was the parliamentary negotiations on a renewal of the Danish four-year PSM agreement coming up in the Spring 2018. Over the last couple of years I have on and off been preparing for it, collecting data and carrying out interviews with politicians and people from the media industry. The agreement reached in June this year seems to be a turning point in Danish media politics. After decades of a rather broad political consensus on PSM, the parliament decided with a slight majority, among other things to abolish the license fee, narrow the program content focus of DR (The Danish Broadcasting Corporation) and to cut down its funding with 20% over the next five years. Allegedly with the intent to improve the competitive conditions of the private media sector.
It seams to be a shift of paradigm. Maybe caused more by a new normality in the general political culture as it’s institutionalized in parliamentary processes than by the specific national media context, “new media” and the global tech. environment. Combining these two explanatory elements, the preliminary title of the book is: “Between emotion and reason. A study of the Danish parliamentary media negotiations 2016-2018”. Here at the turn of the year I have the first four written chapters in draft. There is however still a long way to go.
The past year also brought me a very pleasant surprise. I was invited to the emma conference at Warsaw University in June to receive the "Media and Democracy Karol Jakubowicz Award 2018". Karol, with whom I had a long and close working relation within the field of public media, was a good man cerntainly worthy being remembered.
Family life? - yes very briefly, just to indicate its existence. We continued our tradition with mountain trekking. With our ten grandchildren in Norway and Sweden and a shorter trip for the two of us to the Vosges Mountains of Alsace, also enjoying its marvelous cuisine!