Sunday 04 December 2022

Senate backs new media law, but not much is left of the original plan



The upper house of parliament on Tuesday voted in favour of the government’s controversial new media law, which aims to reduce the amount of populist entertainment on the Dutch public broadcasters.

However, in a complicated politican manoeuvre, most of the law will not yet be enacted. Instead, junior culture minister Sander Dekker has agreed to introduce amendments to meet the objections of the ruling parties, the D66 Liberals and several minor parties, broadcaster Nos reported.

Changes to the regional broadcasting system will now come into effect but the ban on quiz shows and reality soaps, which has already been watered down, will change yet again when the amendments are introduced.

Dekker wants the public broadcasters to focus on programmes which are informative, cultural or educational. He has now agreed that entertainment shows can be sanctioned as long as they serve to attract people to what Dekker considers key programming.

The law also gives umbrella organisation NPO more power over individual broadcasting companies.

There are currently 21 public broadcasting companies, but their number is being merged into eight in 2016 and then again to six. Public broadcasting is funded by a combination of government money and advertising, but state funding is being slashed by €200m a year.

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