Director KRO-NCRV wants Ongehoord Nederland immediately out of the system: “This is pure journalistic scum”

In fact, broadcasting director Peter Kuipers wants to talk about his own clubthis Wednesday, the KRO-NCRV. Anyone who tunes in to the programs of thismerger broadcaster can see: the broadcaster – with more than 400,000 members –has had a new identity since the beginning of September. The logo – a circlemade up of three colors – is accompanied by a new story.

For two years, the director asked friend and foe: why does society give usmore than 80 million euros every year? Do we actually deserve that? In theend, Kuipers arrived at three key words: the KRO-NCRV stands for a world thatcan be fairer, greener and nicer. The slogan: ‘Join tomorrow’. “In doing so,we remain in our hundred-year-old Christian-social tradition, but we also showthat we are focused on the future.” Does that mean anything to its members?”Sometimes not right away, but when I tell them we care about their childrenand grandchildren, then always.”

But while he explains how these terms return in the programming, currentevents seep in. Because since the broadcast of afternoon program Unheard ofNews , on Thursday September 15, it is almost nothing else in Hilversum.Presenter Raisa Blommestijn spoke in a provocative way about alleged”blankophobia” that would make it impossible to discuss “reverse racism”. Theviolence in the videos shown to support her argument did not appear to have aracist motive in any of the four cases. “This was apparent from research byour Pointer program,” says the director proudly.

Statements, no consequences

In her tirade, Blommestijn used the n-word several times and was notcontradicted by her guests, MP Pepijn van Houwelingen (FvD) and professor PaulCliteur (Leiden University).

The broadcast soon led to a series of condemnatory statements, the NPO spokeof a limit that would have been reached. However, the broadcast remainedwithout consequences for the time being.

State Secretary Gunay Uslu (D66, Media) insisted on a decision by the MediaCommission (CvdM) and the Ombudsman of the NPO, who reported at the end oflast weekend that they had already received almost 1,700 complaints. On theadvice of these authorities, it could issue a second sanction against thebroadcaster and eventually withdraw the broadcasting concession.

This broadcaster damages the NPO

Kuipers was also in all states when seeing the broadcast. And it has beengrinding in his head ever since. He now calls on the State Secretary not towait any longer and to revoke the broadcasting license of the aspiringbroadcaster with immediate effect. “What is now needed is what was lacking atthe entrance of Ongehoord Nederland: administrative courage, at the ministryand the management of the public broadcaster. We can wait for another report,demand apologies and rectifications or come up with another sanction. But ifwe are honest, then we know enough.”

He himself is also in the garden, he admits. “Minister Slob, the NPO, but alsowe as fellow directors thought: with two penetrating conversations in advanceand a signature of director Karskens under the journalistic code, we dare. Butnothing shows the intention to keep to agreements. In doing so, thisbroadcaster harms the NPO.”

Also read: Rain of complaints after broadcasting ON. Can everything besaid?

After the offending broadcast of September 15, Kuipers texted his fellowbroadcaster Karskens. “This is not an opinion, I told him, this isjournalistic rubbish. Pure dredge.” He then joined the indignant statements ofhis fellow directors. “But it cannot just be with words of disapproval, afterwhich we return to the order of the day. That’s how it goes within our ownorganization: if an employee breaks the rules here, I call him and he firstreceives a royal admonition. If someone does that again, they will be banned.”

Citizens in a pinch

KRO-NCRV is the first broadcaster to speak out in favor of an immediatedeparture of ON from the system. Is he calling on his colleagues to rallybehind him? “That’s up to them, I can’t make that decision for them.” Askedfor a response, Arnold Karskens sent a short message this Wednesday NRC :”We live in a democracy and broadcaster Ongehoord Nederland neatly interpretsthe opinion of many people.”

Incidentally, Kuipers emphasizes, if it comes from a departure from thesystem, that does not make him happy. “I had hoped that Ongehoord Nederlandwould be a success. That would mean that we as NPO would finally reach atarget group that we just don’t know how to reach at the moment.”

KRO-NCRV does try to do that, by the way. The ‘unheard of’ citizen is called’the citizen in the pinch’ on his broadcaster. “Our journalistic branch hasmade this a spearhead. For example, we are currently in Almelo for three weekswith a pop-up editor. Then we go to Heerlen.”

It turns out to be a personal matter for the former TROS director. “As someonewho originally comes from the Frisian countryside, I have a thing for farmersand their way of life. I understand them well. At the same time, I also see:things will have to change with agriculture. But we have to go there together.We do this, for example, by viewers of our most watched program farmer seekswife to seduce also to Inside out about sustainable living.”

If Ongehoord Nederland is out of the system, the system must be reformed, sothat no new broadcasters are ready to join in the future. Kuipers is notreassured: “After one report and two recommendations on this, the StateSecretary has already ordered a new report on new admission criteria thissummer. After that, both Chambers have to find something about it again.Before you know it, we’ll be late again and we’ll have to wait another fiveyears. While: the order is just full. It must remain manageable here.”

Supplement (September 22, 2022): After publication, this article has beensupplemented with the response of Arnold Karskens.