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Wouter Hins on NPO Radio 1 about revoking licence of Ongehoord Nederland

The Dutch public broadcasting organisation NPO has asked State Secretary for Culture and Media Gunay Uslu to revoke the licence of Ongehoord Nederland. Wouter Hins, emeritus professor of media law, explains how unique the NPO’s request is.

The NPO says a line has been crossed: for the third time, broadcaster Ongehoord Nederland (ON!) has breached the NPO’s journalistic code. As far as the NPO is concerned, ON! should no longer be on TV.

This is an exceptional request, according to Hins: it would be the first time that a broadcasting licence has been revoked on such grounds. The situation is also problematic for the image and authority of the public broadcasting organisation. Hins believes that the NPO must keep its own identity and within that identity, the broadcasters have to work together as far as possible. 'Of course you don’t want these kinds of conflicts arising within the public broadcasting organisation. It has to compete with commercial broadcasters and so the NPO must show a united front.’

It is difficult for Hins to predict whether the state secretary will revoke the licence. He believes it will be down to how ON! acts towards the NPO in the coming weeks. Another factor is how the courts will decide on the three fines that were previously imposed on ON!  'So far, no court ruling has been given and that makes it more risky for the state secretary to impose such a drastic sanction now.’

The interview on NPO Radio 1 (in Dutch) can be heard via NPO Radio 1.

Photographer: Nabil Saleh via Unsplash. 

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