By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
AMSTERDAM (Worthy News) – A Dutch rightwing broadcaster founded by a former war reporter and Nazi hunter has been fined and is threatened with closure over its content and perceived refusal to cooperate with liberal-leaning networks.
The State-financed Dutch Foundation for Public Broadcasting (NPO) said the young Ongehoord Nederland, or ‘Unheard Netherlands’ (ON) network, had “systematically violated” the journalistic code of the NPO.
The NPO said it had imposed a third fine on ON of almost 132,000 euros ($145,000) and asked Media State Secretary Gunay Uslu to withdraw the license of founder Arnold Karskens’ broadcaster.
The NPO and left-leaving politicians have accused ON of discrimination and spreading “fake news” about issues such as migration and climate change, as well as “unbalanced” far-right programs.
Karskens, whose family joined the Dutch resistance during World War Two and who himself investigated suspected war criminals, vehemently denied far-right sentiments. “My family joined the resistance. I would never allow anti-Jewish sentiments to air here,” Karskens said Tuesday.
ON received a license and became part of the Dutch public broadcasting system after gaining the support of the required minimum of more than 50,000 members.
However, since ON’s first television broadcast in February last year, it was immediately criticized for its content compared to opinionated programs on America’s Fox News Channel.
Karskens, 68, and other critics say, however, that it is part of a broader struggle within the Dutch media landscape, which they say had been dominated by a left-leaning narrative regarding issues such as climate change and migration.
The NPO maintained in a statement that ON is “insufficiently prepared for the cooperation necessary for the NPO for the implementation of the legally established public media task.”
It was not immediately clear Tuesday when and if Uslu would start a procedure to ban ON, which would mean an unprecedented move in Dutch post-war broadcasting history.
“I know she is from the [left-leaning Liberal] D’66 (Democrats ‘66) party. But I think that in the name of pragmatism and freedom of the press, she would not go as far as to ban us,” Karskens said Tuesday on ON News.
The Netherlands has been vocal in criticizing other European Union countries, such as Hungary, over its perceived crackdown on independent media.
Banning ON could have implications beyond the Dutch borders, commentators said.
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