Senators fail to agree on new media bill, adultery ads in spotlight

Photo: Depositphotos.comJunior culture minister Sander Dekker has agreed to look into options for cracking down on television adverts for adultery websites.

The orthodox Protestant party SGP wants a ban on advertising sites like Second Love which encourage people to cheat on their partners, and is campaigning to have them banned.

Dekker has now agreed to ask the film and television classification board Nicam to look at the adverts to determine if they contain sex or violence or could be damaging to children. If so, the adverts could be restricted to certain time slots.

Dekker made the concession during Tuesday evening’s senate debate on the new media bill. Commentators say the Nicam referral is a gesture to the SGP because the minister needs their support to get the media law through the upper house of parliament.

The ruling coalition does not control the senate and needs the support of opposition parties to pass controversial legislation.

Ministerial powers

One of the senate’s main criticisms of the new media law is that it gives ministers greater powers to appoint public sector broadcasting chiefs. Dekker has already appointed a fellow Labour party member Bruno Bruins to chair the NPO, the public broadcaster’s umbrella organisation.

Until now, the NPO has had a coordinating role but under the new media law, it will also have the power to reject programmes and buy-in programming from third parties. The individual broadcasting companies say this is giving too much power to the centre and fear that politicians will interfere in programme and journalistic choices.

Senators are also unhappy at Dekker’s plan to stop the public broadcasters producing ‘entertainment’ and make sure they focus on news, culture, education and documentaries.

A vote on the new legislation has been delayed until March.

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