April 13 2013
A new Muslim broadcaster in the Netherlands has been granted the provision of radio and TV programmes. The Commissariat for the Media has granted broadcaster SZM a license valid through 31 December 2015. At the initiative of the supervisory body, various Islamic organizations are to collaborate in the SZM, as a result of which the Commissariat feels the broadcaster will be representative of Muslims in the country. Each major religion in the Netherlands has a representative public broadcaster, however ideological broadcasting will cease in 2016, after which time only eight broadcasting organizations will exist.
Two Muslim broadcasting organizations will cease operation this year. The Dutch Muslim Broadcaster (NMO) and the Dutch Islamic Broadcasting (NIO) companies have not requested a renewal of their public broadcasting license for the next five-year period.
The two broadcasters decided not to renew their licenses following multiple conflicts within Islamic Broadcasting Foundation Care, the umbrella organization set up specifically to mediate between them, Abderrahman Farsi from NMO told Radio Netherlands. The broadcasters will stop operation in August 2010.
Dutch public broadcasting is organized on the principle of representation, with broadcasting associations being allotted airtime on public channels commensurate with their membership. Each broadcasting company represents a significant section of society. The Islamic broadcasters operate during a small percentage of airtime set aside for associations representing religious groups.
The Dutch media authority has received requests by five other Islamic organizations who want to take the place of NMO and NIO, including Muslim Broadcasting Foundation (Stichting Moslimomroep), Stichting Moslim Omroep Nederland, Stichting Academica Islamica/OUMA, Nederlandse Islamitische Media and Stichting Samenwerkende Islamitische Koepel.
Don Maclean, who hosted Good Morning Sunday for 16 years, claimed that the corporation is biased against Christianity and had embarked on a movement to “secularise the country”. “They’re keen on Islam, they’re keen on programmes that attack the Christian church,” he said and added that programming chiefs were keen to take a “negative angle at every opportunity” in a way they do not with other faiths like Islam.
This comes after the BBC has appointed Muslim broadcaster Aaqil Ahmed as BBC’s head of religious programmes. He is the first Muslim and only the second non-Christian in this role, and the decision was criticised by church officials, who complain that “Christians are now only depicted as ‘freak shows'”. The BBC has defended the decision saying that Mr Ahmed was “the best candidate for this new role” and that it is “BBC policy to recruit on the basis of experience and suitability to the post, not on the basis of faith or any other criteria”.
Arab satellite broadcastings that can be received in Belgium may convey messages of anti-Semitism and terrorism themes, and many in Belgium’s Jewish community have written complaints. Flemish minister Geert Bourgeois is taking the complaints seriously, and stated though a spokesperson that in our own media law it clearly says that broadcasters may not broadcast programs that incite to hate. The challenge is that these are not regular broadcasters from within the country, but satellite broadcasters; taking them off the air and the technical maneuverings are much more difficult.