June 25, 2022

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It makes no sense for the state to spend millions on a public radio station that does not reach the population - Dagsavisen

It makes no sense for the state to spend millions on a public radio station that does not reach the population – Dagsavisen

Almost a quarter of Norwegian television viewers do not have access to news shows on TV 2. This is despite the fact that the state pays TV 2 million large televisions to produce this service. For a month and a half, Altibox customers have been in the country without TV 2 signals. Culture Minister Anette Trettebergstuen (Labour) will not interfere in the dispute between TV 2 and Altibox.

“As Minister of Culture and Gender Equality, I would have no role in such negotiations,” the minister wrote in response to Terje Halliland of the Progress Party. TV 2 receives 135 million NOK annually to fulfill its mission as a public broadcaster.

The agreement with the state means that at least 95 percent of households should be technically able to receive the main channel of TV 2. But it does not say that these households will actually receive this TV 2 offer. Thus, the Minister of Culture can solemnly hold hands. The problem is that 700,000 families are left with Svarte-Per behind a black TV screen.

This isn’t the first time TV 2 has clashed with distributors. Instead, it appears to be a rule. First, it was Canal Digital that would not accept the terms. Then there was a knot on the cable to Telia, and now there is an unresolved tangle between TV 2 and Altibox. The message from the other end is clear: TV 2 must have paid for all five of the company’s channels. End customers should not be able to choose to only subscribe to, say, a news channel. The alternative is black screens.

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The background is the fact that TV 2 started in 1992 as an advertising-funded alternative to the state-funded NRK. But since then, a lot has changed, and new payment solutions have opened their entrance. And since 2018, TV 2 has received 135 million NOK per year for being a public broadcaster with a wide range of shows.

The alternative is that TV 2 will be like Discovery.

Andreessen, who was, among other things, the news editor and program director at TV 2, was upset. “Maybe it is time for the Minister of Culture to wake up and make sure that the state’s payments to TV 2 for a news show are now a show for the entire Norwegian people,” Andreessen wrote in one of the debates.

Andreessen has a good point. It makes no sense for the state to spend millions on public radio that does not reach the entire population. The alternative is that TV 2 becomes a fully commercial channel on a par with, for example, Discovery.

Of course, the Minister of Culture will not enter into private negotiations. It is mainly up to TV 2 to resolve the ongoing conflict. But if TV 2 is not aware of its responsibility, then Culture Minister Anette Trettebergstuen must step in and make sure the TV 2 agreement is improved. Politicians must not abdicate. There should be rice behind the mirror.

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