Powned founder apologises for ‘sick-making’ item about dead Syrian teen

Photo: Maurits90 via Wikimedia Commons

The founder of state-funded broadcaster Powned has apologised for an article placed on the populist news channel’s website about a Syrian teenager who drowned in a swimming pool in Venlo.

The article, which said the young refugee had ensured ‘an annoying day’ for other swimmers, was a trending topic on Twitter for a time. Powned chairman Domique Weesie, currently on holiday, also apologised on Twitter for the ‘sick-making’ piece.

According to some reports, the item was at first illustrated with the photograph of Aylan, the Syrian toddler who drowned off the coast of Greece and which made headlines around the world. However, screen captures on social media show that photo was replaced prior to the article being taken off line altogether.

Police and justice ministry officials have concluded the boy’s death was a tragic accident.

The Dutch swimming association has called for better information and swimming lessons for refugees. In 2015, a nine-year-old Syrian girl died during school swimming lessons in Rhenen.

Powned was founded in 2009 by the GeenStijl shockblog.