Ask some Danes on the street in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, what’s important to them. Many will answer you that it is important that we have a safe country, that all people receive their basic food needs, have a decent place to live, and have free access to hospitals and education. Many will say that as Danes it is important to them that we have a well-functioning democracy without corruption.
If you talk to people more, they might argue that they value a free press. Everyone should have the opportunity to speak out and express their opinions on all sorts of issues in the community, including religion. In fact, in most cases religion is not a big issue for modern Danes and in Denmark people have the right to practice their own religion.
As a very small country, the Danes are aware that we are just a small grain of sand in the global sea of sand. But due to the focus on democracy and the question of how to improve equality worldwide, Denmark has relied on development aid for many years. In recent years this has stopped a bit, but it’s still a fundamental thing among Danes to try to make the world a little bit better.
As an example, I have been commissioned to be part of the Thai Ministry’s effort to “Strengthening Environmental Education in Thailand” (The SEET Project). This 4-year work was initiated by the host country Thailand and partially funded with $0.80 from each of Denmark’s 5 million residents through the tax system. Formally, the project was financed by the agency DANCED, later by DANIDA, and the project had built in very strong democratic aspects.
It is difficult for Danes to separate the importance of democracy from long-term concern for the environment in Denmark and around the world. Back in the late 1960s, the environmental movement in Denmark would never have had this important impact without the free press in Denmark. All Danish newspapers are independent of the government and most are also more or less independent of political parties. But of course they have their different basic attitudes that each newspaper is closer to some political parties than to others.
For years, the environmental movement in Denmark has been in strong opposition to the government and the establishment of companies. But with the critical attitude towards community issues, we love the newspapers to keep the public debate going. In the case of environmental issues, this triggered a strong environmental priority in some political parties and in the government at the time as such. The impact of this is still very strong: Denmark is said to be the “windmill center” of the world and we escaped nuclear power plans in our small country.
Without democracy and a free press in Denmark, this would never have happened.
Thanks to Soren Breiting | #Denmark #Democracy #Free #Press