Public television association ombudsman Margo Smit is starting an investigation into complaints about alleged racism and biased reporting by fledgeling broadcaster Ongehoord Nederland.
Smit said she had had received reports about ‘incorrect information, desinformation, bias, and racism’ relating to the broadcaster’s new current affairs programme.
Complaints came in after Ongehoord Nederland director Arnold Karskens said ‘certain forces are steering president Joe Biden’ and far right MP Sybren Haga said ‘the EU and Nato had provoked’ Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
Another item involved journalist Jonathan Krispijn, who asked two women from an asylum seekers centre ‘where they had got their bikes from’, insinuating they might have stolen them.
All public broadcasters sign up to the NPO’s journalistic code which says broadcasts have to be reliable, meticulous, independent, unbiased and unprejudiced. Smit told the AD she will now investigate if Ongehoord Nederland has violated the code. If that is the case NPO can decide to remove the offending programme from the schedule.
Karskens dismissed the complaints as ‘exaggerated’ and said that whatever had been said in the programme comes under the heading of freedom of opinion.
Ongehoord Nederland has been a public broadcaster since January 1 this year. Aspiring public broadcasters need to accumulate 50,000 members in order to qualify for inclusion in the system.
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