Exhibition of Danish media history
Every day we are influenced by print and electronic media; in
advertisements, newspapers, radio, television and the bombardment
of news from the internet, magazines and printed entertainment,
Facebook, Twitter, etc. We are not passive consumers, however.
Everyone can air their opinions through the global network of the
We can communicate directly with politicians on Facebook, write letters to the editor and get air time on radio and television if we have a cause and our arguments are valid. We have the power to communicate. This power has only been ours for the last century or so. Before that it was only the "powers that be" who communicated or - more accurately - informed the masses. The media, which was once limited to bulletins put up in the town square, was the mouthpiece of the Crown and of the Church. Even though censorship was abolished with the Constitution of 1849, communication remained one-sided and with a strong campaigning message through a few select party political newspapers for another fifty years.
The history of the media in Denmark is very much the history of the balance of power. It is the story of how powerful groups, such as the Church, the Crown, politicians, spin doctors, experts and parents have tried to control what the media says. It is the history of the power of the media over society and us as consumers, users, readers, viewers and listeners. The exhibition uses important examples to show the traits of the history of the media from the earliest written communication to the present media chaos - a present in which the media sets the agenda for what is most important each week, thereby becoming a force of power. The exhibition also tells the story and background to freedom of speech in Denmark - a privilege we have enjoyed since 1849, but one that has been threatened by self-censorship both before and after the Muhammad cartoons crisis.
We look back in time and explain how, from the 1850s, the media became a commodity that existed in the form of magazine sales, notices and advertisements. We also explain how the media became the mass media with access to new printing techniques, including the history of Danish broadsheet Berlingske. The exhibition also discusses how the present media is a kind of dream factory, with weekly magazines and reality television. The question of the extent to which such media is harmful has always been asked by parents and is also examined by the exhibition.