The NPO wants the license of broadcaster Ongehoord Nederland (ON!) to be revoked. The Executive Board has submitted a request to that effect to Secretary of State Uslu.
The request follows the third fine that the NPO has imposed on the broadcaster. This amounts to 131,885 euros. This amount is on top of the previous fines of 84,098 euros and 56,065 euros. ON! in response, calls the new fine a “renewed attack on freedom of expression”.
In the event of repeated violations, the public broadcaster can submit a request to no longer recognize a broadcaster, as the legal wording reads. The NPO now writes that it sees no other option than to proceed to “the last resort that the legislator has granted the NPO; a request to the State Secretary for Culture and Media to withdraw the provisional recognition.”
A spokesman for Uslu confirms that the request has been made to withdraw the permit. The State Secretary needs time to carefully examine the request. She will ask for legal advice and will send a letter to the House this week.
‘A black day’
Ongehoord Nederland writes in a response to the website that it is “unprecedented” that the NPO is trying to “silence” the broadcaster. The broadcaster calls the NPO’s decision “a black day for press freedom in the Netherlands”.
The broadcaster points out that legal proceedings are still ongoing about the sanctions imposed and that no court decision has yet been made. “The NPO’s behavior fits other types of regimes, but not in democracy and not in the Netherlands. This does not show respect towards our constitutional state.”
Systematically breaking code
Ongehoord Nederland receives the third fine because the news program Ongehoord Nieuws “systematically” violates the journalistic code of the NPO. The NPO refers to research by the Ombudsman Margo Smit.
The fine was announced in January. The board of directors of the NPO wrote in an explanation at the time about “a pattern of systematic sharing of demonstrably incorrect information”. According to the NPO, that was the purport of the investigation by NPO ombudsman Smit.
Unheard of Netherlands chairman Arnold Karskens says he will challenge the fines “up to the highest courts”.
- NPO wants to fine broadcaster Ongehoord Nederland for the third time