Dutch MSM: Bought and paid for

This cannot be good. Elsevier (NL) reports that the government is going to pay the salaries of 60 journalists and editors working for Dutch dead-tree media.

Among those receiving the 'free' journalists are the Persgroep (Trouw, Volkskrant, Parool and Algemeen Dagblad), who will get 14 subsidized spots, and de Telegraaf, good for nine state-dependent journalists. Opinion mags HP/De Tijd, Vrij Nederland and Weekblad de Groene each get one subsidized editor spot. All in all this new subsidy scheme runs the entire spectrum of big printed MSM. Notable exceptions are Elsevier magazine and the daily NRC.

The plan was concocted by (now ex-) minister Plasterk (PvdA), who wanted to help out the ailing printed press sector in these hard times of financial crisis and competition from the internet. What is left unsaid, of course, is that much of the dead-tree MSM (as is the MSM in general) are all preaching from the same sermon book, singing the praises of multiculturalism and admonishing their readers for not being worried enough about AGW. This has greatly contributed to a dwindling readership, as citizens turn more and more to the internet for truly independent news.

And so, in a bid to salvage what is left, our national printed MSM is being nationalised by stealth. Because let's be honest: it would be naive to think that the money comes with no strings attached. None of those subsidized journos is going to write anything that may jeopardize their taxpayer funded job, are they?

One has to wonder, though, if getting more of the same, tax-funded or not, is going to do anything for a sector that apparently is unable to earn its own keep. Elsevier doesn't think so. Noting that they have resisted this ridiculous plan from the start they go on to note:
This weekly will under no circumstances become state media, and does not want in any way justify suspicions that the editorial staff is treating government and public authorities with velvet gloves [Dutch for kid gloves - KV]. Besides: Elsevier honours the principle that healthy companies should be able to earn their own keep. Plus: This subsidy leads to distorion of competition.
So... Let's hear it for Elsevier (and NRC). But also let us not forget that as of today our printed media has lost its independence (such as it was) and have now become de facto propaganda outlets of our government. That cannot be good at all

9 reacties:

DP111 zei

With news that the state is extending its reach into the MSM, the internet becomes an even more important and vital avenue for genuine free speech and discourse.

But that cannot be allowed

Europe Cracks Down on Bloggers, Not Terrorists
From the desk of Paul Belien on Mon, 2010-03-01 09:39
There is terrorism and there is Islamophobia. Of these two the latter is apparently the more serious misdemeanor. Europe is introducing draconian measures to monitor the internet for so-called “racism,” but at the same time the European Parliament has decided to deny America access to servers with international banking data that relate to terrorist organizations.

Last January, the French Inter-ministerial Committee on Racism and Anti-Semitism met to discuss measures to ban from the Internet those websites deemed by public moralists to be “racist.” The French government is acting in accordance with resolutions of the European Parliament that urge the member states of the European Union to “combat racism and xenophobia.” The French authorities are currently working on “a plan of action at the national and international levels, mobilizing public authorities, Internet operators and special-interest groups” to combat “the expression of racist commentary on the Internet.”


I think only the people who wish to destroy freedom of expression, are allowed to have freedom of expression. For the rest, it is regulated and monitored.

Robin Shadowes zei

We're living on borrowed time. Soon blogs like this and GoV will be banned and bloggers and commentators alike will be prosecuted with hate speech-legislation. The internet will become like a cable channel on tv. Entertainment, commercials and various other forms of ga-ga like in reality shows. Only difference is it will be internet instead of tv.

Klein Verzet zei

You know what? I don't believe that for a second. Even during the worst of Stalins reign, the Russians had the Samizdat. Nazi-occupied Holland knew a plethora of illegal weeklies telling the interested citizenry the other side of the story.

I have argued this before. The internet is, or could be, a global, nearly real-time Samizdat. There are ways to anonymously surf the web and read the stuff our 'betters' don't want us to know. As long as there are countries that do not give a toss what Napoleons retarded little cousin (that would be Sarkozy) thinks that other news will get out, be read.

Reading the Belien piece I am all the more convinced that neither the Eunion, nor our direct political masters, really fathom the power of the internet. As long as there are bloggers writing stuff, and as long as there are readers reading it, here is hope yet...

DP111 zei


I do hope you are right.
I just wonder what lengths the EU will go to, if it is threatened with dissolution.

Lee Enfield Mk1 zei

It may be in our interests to get hold of some old technogy - faxes, typewriters, copiers etc - before the internet becomes 100% controlled.

Your blog is very good.

Sally zei

I'd love to know, was this after or before their visit to Moscow?


Our EUSSR master's collude with their Communist friends.

Robin Shadowes zei

I hope you right but I do know they will do anything in their power to TRY limit our freedom of speech at all costs. Like you I hope they fail miserably.

DP111 zei

The internet, unlike samizdat pamphlets, is easily controlled.

It goes without saying that the control will be initially be excercised with a very light hand. The excuse will used will be, that it is to intercept Jihadis, and to stop child pornographers - all eminently reasonable. But slowly the screw will tighten. It may also tighten by taxing bloggers, and a tax on all internet usage by the KB. Bloggers will have to get a license, a kind of radio transmitting license. The justification will be that broadcasting on the internet is no different from wireless broadcasting.

There are many many ways that the internet can be smothered, till the only ones who are able to broadcast on it, are approved license holders or the MSM.

The Internet is the most revolutionary technology that has come about - even more revolutionary then the printing press. Such a tool cannot be left in the hands of the ordinary public, no more then a box matches and incendiaries in the hands of a child- I can hear Sir Humphrey say these words to his minister.

Klein Verzet zei

Maybe, but never underestimate the power of a geek with a PC!

Napster almost single-handedly redefined the music industry. While game companies use more and more draconian DRM schemes, those schemes are usually defeated with hours (if that) after games release. And I dare say that blogging is dramatically reshaping the flow of information on current events.

If the EUnion really wants this battle, it will only result in ever more sophisticated and smart ways around any measures they take. This is a battle they cannot win, because they will always be on the defensive.


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