Denmark | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 Scores

Press Status


Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The constitution guarantees freedom of expression, and media reflect a wide variety of political opinions and are frequently critical of the government. Denmark has strict antiracism laws, and a radio station in Copenhagen had its broadcasting license taken away for three months after it called for the extermination of Muslim extremists. Kaj Wilhelmsen, the radio presenter who made the statements, was also charged with breaking the country's antiracism laws.

The most important issue of 2005 was the furor that emerged after 12 cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad were published in the conservative Copenhagen daily Jyllands-Posten at the end of September. One of the cartoons depicted Muhammad wearing a turban in the form of a bomb with the fuse lit. Death threats were made against two cartoonists and bomb threats were made against the newspaper, and protests spread worldwide. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the drawings during a visit to Denmark in November. Despite the criticism, the newspaper refused to apologize for the cartoons. The controversy sparked discussions over freedom of the press in Denmark and all over the world. In October, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen refused to intervene, arguing that, as prime minister, he has "no tool whatsoever to take actions against the media" and, furthermore, does not "want that kind of tool."

The state finances radio and television broadcasting, but state-owned television companies have independent editorial boards. Several private cable and satellite television channels also exist, as do private radio stations, which are tightly regulated. The government does not limit access to the internet and 69 percent of the population was recorded accessing the internet in 2005.