Shula Rijksman: “We’re the national living room!”
In her New Year speech today, NPO Chair Shula Rejsmann spoke forcefully against the diverse threats that Dutch journalists increasingly face. “We are fighting lies, conspiracy theories and polarization with one antagonist: the facts,” says Reijsmann, who appreciates the Dutch press so much. Also in 2021, journalists will have a lot of space in the public broadcast: “They will carry news from all sides. Multiform, open and reliable.”
According to the head of the NPO, journalistic standards and values form a crucial foundation for a democratic society: “The development in denying facts, science is questionable, and the work of journalists increasingly being questioned out loud is simply dangerous.” Riggsman also points to the events that happened in the United States, where not only was the Capitol building stormed last week, but reporters were severely hampered from doing their work.
In her online message, Rijxman calls for a “vigil”, as threats are also on the rise in the Netherlands. It sees the fact that NOS had to remove its logo from its satellite cars as a temporary low point. “These are developments that you would expect in a dictatorial regime, not in a modern democracy.” Riggsman says journalists should be able to do their work completely freely. NPO has an ongoing dialogue with all broadcasters on this matter and spurs innovations that help combat fake news, misinformation and deepfakes.
Rijsman asserts that these journalistic norms and values also apply naturally to new broadcasters: “It is important that any new broadcasters unequivocally endorse journalistic codes, but above all they add something to what already exists.” The latter is extremely important, according to Rigsman, because otherwise, the broadcast system threatens to become unmanageable. “You can even think of – and I said that before – closing the back door of the system after the next round.”
In her video message, the NPO boss also addresses other major challenges facing public broadcasting this year. Such as the ability to continuously respond flexibly to developments surrounding the Coronavirus, in programming on television and radio, as well as online and on-demand. In addition, in 2021, NPO will greatly expand its culture, territory and science, and the widely used broadcast platform NPO Start will become better and more personal.
In her speech, Rejsmann also said that she hopes that, after the parliamentary elections in March, the new government will give space for non-profit organizations to maintain “our important and continuing role in society.” Millions of Dutch enjoy public programs on TV every day, from EenVandaag, Nieuwsuur and Op1 to Wie is de Mol? And Heel Holland Bakt, and De Slimste Mens. But also on the radio, with shows like Radio 1 Journaal, Spijkers met Koppen and Arbevitaminen.
After all, Rijxman is advocating for more space to make entertainment, something that has been drastically curtailed by politics for several years. “With entertainment specifically we can really reach everyone. Also hard-to-reach groups, like youth and people with a non-Western background. We’ve all now tested how important it is for you to be able to escape reality for a while. By relaxing in any way.” We are the national living room! ”
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