Broadcasting Ombudsman said on Tuesday that the right-wing television channel Ongehoord Nederland (ON) broke the journalism code of ethics in the public broadcasting sector by disseminating illegal information and indistinguishing facts from opinions.
Margo Smit has responded to a series of complaints about broadcaster programs since it was approved by a non-profit organization (NPO) in January. ON (Netherlands unprecedented) works closely with far-right parties such as Geert Wilders’ PVV and Forumvoor Democratie, and is described as the Dutch version of Fox News.
“Public channel journalism programs are not an open platform and presenters are not there to facilitate this,” Smit said in her decision. “But this is what ON does on a regular basis.”
In a statement, ON’s founder, Arnold Karskens, said in a statement that broadcasters “fully support the program” they have created so far. “We understand that some people have to get used to hearing different opinions and interpretations about the facts provided by public institutions,” he said.
Media Minister Gunay Uslu said it was the NPO’s own responsibility to decide what action to take.
Last year, the Dutch Cultural Council recommended two new initiatives to be recognized in the public broadcasting system. Omroep Zwart and Ongehoord Nederland. ON will provide voice to those who feel alienated from politics and public services, the council said at the time.
Ambitious public broadcasters need to accumulate 50,000 members to qualify for inclusion in the system.
In total, by June 1, the Ombudsman had received 146 emails accusing the broadcasters of being partisan, broadcasting racism, and disinformation.
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