Danish People’s Party suggests ban on Arabic TV-stations

November 2, 2010

Pia Kjærsgaard, leader of the Danish People’s Party (DF), has proposed a ban on satellite dishes in public housing areas in order to prevent residents from receiving what she labelled “anti-western” channels.

Consevative MP Naser Khader says: “I thought it was an April Fool’s joke”. He proposes that the DF instead come up with a democratic response. He added that labeling Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya as “hateful Arabic TV-stations” shows that the DF does not have a proper understanding of the Arabic media. Conservatives spokesperson Rasmus Jarlov stressed that a ban would “nourish the conspiracy theories that Denmark is attempting to repress Arab views”. Henrik Dam Kristensen of the opposition Social Democrats urged Kjærsgaard to participate in a dialogue about integration, rather than discuss bans. He asserted that she is making a desperate attempt to “keep a debate going”.

Following criticism, Kjærsgaard acknowledged to Politiken newspaper that it would be “difficult, if not impossible” to implement the proposal. Danish People’s Party will now go directly to the Radio and Television Board to get Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya channels banned, but they will need to provide evidence that the two TV-stations are a form of hate speech. In Kjærsgaard’s view, access to the two stations limits the integration capacity of residents who only get their news from these stations.

The Prime Minister, who represents Venstre – the Liberal Party of Denmark, dismissed the idea of a ban on satellite dishes in public housing areas. He said: “A general ban on satellite dishes is not in accordance with the constitution or with Venstre’s ideals about freedom”.