Wednesday 27 January 2021

Documentary about rock waste dumping was ‘unbalanced and one-sided’

The river Maas. Photo: Klankbeeld via Wikimedia Commons

The Dutch Council for Journalism has criticised a television documentary which focused on the role of transport ministry officials in dumping rock waste in a nature reserve on the river Maas.

The Zembla programme, broadcast in February, was ‘one-sided, unbalanced and tendentious’, the council said, following complaints by a company at the heart of the revelations.

In the broadcast, the programme claimed senior civil servants at the transport ministry’s roads department pushed through a permit to dump half a million tonnes of granite waste into an artificial lake in Gelderland, even though the officials in charge of taking the decision had rejected it.

The waste, a clay-like substance left over when granite and sand are crushed and prepared for road building, was said to be potentially harmful by the programme, but this, according to other experts, is not the case.

In addition, the company Bontrup was not given enough space to respond to the allegations, the journalism complaints board said.

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