Europe: Denmark

Current Status: unknown

Press Council: Denmark

Pressenaevnet, Press Council

Sanne Godthaab Olesen (Secretary)

Adelgade 11-13, 4.

1304 Copenhagen K 
Tel: (45) 33 15 55 64 
Telefax: (45) 33 15 84 64 



The Press Council was established in 1992 pursuant to the Danish Media Liability Act. It is an independent, public tribunal which deals with complaints about the mass media.

The PC consists of a chairman, a vice-chairman and 6 other members who are appointed by the Minister of Justice. The appointment of the chairman and the vice-chairman, who must be lawyers, is made upon recommendation by the president of the Danish Supreme Court, 2 members are appointed upon recommendation by the Danish Journalists' Union, 2 members are appointed to represent the editorial managements of the printed press and radio and television upon recommendation by these and 2 members are appointed as public representatives upon recommendation by the Danish Council for Adult Education. When ruling in a case, the Council consists of four members – one person from each category mentioned above. The expenses of the activities of the Council are covered by the mass media according to a scale fixed in the Council's rules of procedure.

Who can lodge a complaint to the PC?

People, companies, associations etc. who think they have been denounced by the media and if they have got a cause of action. The PC may try a case of its own accord where the case is essential or leading.

Which kind of media can you lodge a complaint against? 

Newspapers, daily papers, weekly magazines, local papers, professional papers and other national, periodical publications which are published at least twice a year. Danmarks Radio (Danish Broadcasting Corporation), TV2, TV2’s regional enterprises, and undertakings authorized in Denmark to broadcast radio or television programmes. Some electronic information systems, especially publications from news agencies or publications of the printed press on their websites. The information system must be registered with the Press Council.

The Press Council can rule in cases relating to whether the publication made is contrary to sound press ethics and whether a mass media shall be under an obligation to publish a reply. According to the Media Liability Act, both the content and the conduct of the mass media must be in conformity with sound press ethics. The act does not give a complete description of sound press ethics. However, "sound press ethics" is interpreted in the light of the Press Ethical Rules of guidance. Thus the PC assesses the circumstances in every case. Reply means that the complainant gets the opportunity to correct the information published by the media.

You can only request a reply if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • The information published must be of a factual nature;
  • The information must be incorrect; the information must be able to cause significant financial or other kind of damage;
  • The content of the reply must be limited to the necessary factual information and must not be unlawful.

Sound press ethics: You can either complain to the media in question or directly to the PC. However, complaints concerning DR, TV2 or TV2’s regional enterprises must always be lodged with these establishments in the first place. The notice of complaint is four weeks after publication. The decision of the undertakings must be brought before the PC within 4 weeks after the plaintiff has been apprised thereof.

Reply: Requests for reply must first be submitted in writing to the editor. The media concerned may require the complainant to draw up the reply. If the media refuses to publish or if the reply published is inadequate, a complaint may be brought before the PC within four weeks.

What can the Press Council do about a complaint? 

The PC cannot impose a sentence on the mass media or assure the complainant financial compensation. In cases concerning sound press ethics the PC can express its criticism. In cases about reply the Council may direct the editor of the media in question to publish a reply. In both cases the Council may direct the editor to publish the decision of the Council to an extent specified by the Council.

Updated: 16/08/2017