NPO wants to fine Ongehoord Nederland after ombudsman report

the NPO is planning to broadcaster Ongehoord Nederland to impose a financial sanction. The NPO takes that step after a critical report from the ombudsman of the NPO last week. The NPO still wants to give the broadcaster the chance to tell their side of the story, and after that the board of directors still has to consider it.

According to the NPO, the report shows that the new broadcaster has “systematically violated the Journalistic Code”. This code lays down journalistic guidelines that broadcasters must comply with.

According to the Media Act, a maximum of 15 percent of the budget set for a broadcaster may be withheld. ON! receives an annual budget of 3.6 million euros, so the maximum fine would be more than half a million.

Unheard of in the Netherlands: no response requested

ON! has since been informed of the intention, the NPO writes in a press statement. ON! is first given the opportunity to respond, after which the board of directors will decide whether the sanction will actually be imposed. It is then also decided how high any financial ‘fine’ will be.

ON! speaks in a reaction of “a frontal attack on the survival of us as a broadcaster and press freedom in the Netherlands”. The broadcaster says it does not agree with the conclusions of the ombudsman’s report and questions the intention of the NPO to threaten a sanction without rebuttal. “We regret that even before we have been asked for a reply, the board of directors already wants to take such a draconian measure”.

‘No open stage’

The ombudsman concluded in a report last week that the broadcaster, which first aired on TV in February, is violating the code of trustworthiness and is contributing to the dissemination of demonstrably inaccurate information, without correcting it. “Journalistic programs at the public broadcasters are not an open stage and the presenter is not a conduit. That is now regularly the case at broadcaster ON,” said the ombudsman.

A final judgment on a possible sanction will follow no later than the week of June 27, the NPO reports.

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