Media more fun than facts, says princess

Modern journalism risks being turned into entertainment, princess Mabel, a director of George Soros’s Open Society Institute, told the Volkskrant on Saturday. ‘It seems to me sometimes that quality is less important than viewing and circulation figures, that facts are less important than fun,’ Mabel told the paper.

‘Sometimes when I read the newspaper I think ‘have I go the whole story here?’
The interview with the Volkskrant coincides with the publication of a essay by the princess In vrijheid blijven geloven (keep believing in freedom), based on the Van Randwijk speech she gave last year. In the essay, Mabel argues that the media has a crucial role in the creation and maintenance of free and open societies.
‘I work in countries where people are murdered because of what they think, or they disappear, or they are tortured,’ the princess, married to queen Beatrix’s second son Johan Friso, said.
‘But freedom brings with it responsibilities. You are not alone,’ she told the paper. ‘In principle there is nothing wrong with publishing something because you want to stimulate debate and so, possibly, offend people. But it is unacceptable, for example, to print cartoons with the only aim of teaching Muslims a lesson. Freedom and responsibility often clash and it is not easy to find a balance between them.’
In the interview the princess spoke of the press coverage of her relationship with Friso which had showed ‘little interest in facts, a lot in entertainment,’ she said. Mabel’s engagement and 2004 marriage to Friso were surrounded in controversy because of her friendship with drugs baron Klaas Bruinsma who was murdered in 1991.

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