Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 23 June 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Commission makes recommendations on printed media
Trouw today reports that a commission led by former Christian Democrats leader and former media minister Eelco Brinkman has presented its recommendations on the future of the printed media. The report focuses on a charge on all Internet subscriptions to finance innovative initiatives in the printed media; in particular internet initiatives of regional media.
The commission writes that a charge may help consumers of the media and the Internet understand that news and newsgathering is not for free. The commission was formed at the request of a parliamentary majority to find out to what extent the government can contribute to a healthy printed media sector.
However, the commission makes no recommendation on the most politically sensitive issue. Many newspaper publishers have pointed out that competition among the media is distorted by the advertising revenue of the public broadcasting companies. The public broadcasting system is funded through taxation and its advertising revenue allegedly distorts the market.
Communications network failed after Turkish Airlines crash
De Telegraaf writes that the brand new C2000 communications network used by the police, fire brigade and paramedics seriously failed during the aid efforts after the Turkish Airlines crash at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on 25 February 2009, in which nine passengers lost their lives. An official investigation into the accident by the Public Order and Safety Inspectorate showed that an inadequate regional communications system led to a network overload and, in turn, to serious problems with the transport of injured passengers.
Ambulances were unable to contact the radio room and in the confusion lost track of which passengers had been taken to which of the 13 regional hospitals. The overload was also caused by aid workers who were off duty at the time of the accident but logged in to the C2000 system to satisfy their curiosity. The head of the investigation, Ric de Rooij, emphasises that the system itself did not fail but its capacity was inadequate.
Both the Public Order and Safety Inspectorate and the council of Haarlemmermeer conclude that relief efforts themselves were adequate. De Rooij said “The aid services were very quick to arrive at the scene. Within half an hour, the whole organisation was present and operational. The first major operational deployment since the new radio room came into service was a success.”
Crackdown on tax havens may lead to lower income tax rates
In an interview with AD, Deputy Finance Minister Kees de Jager says that income tax rates can come down as a result of the successful crackdown on offshore savings accounts. A clemency arrangement for offshore savers who report themselves to the tax office—currently at a rate of 20 a day—has led to EUR 187 million of additional tax revenue this year alone. The tax authorities hope this amount will increase further when the last of the tax havens scrap their banking secrets.
The amount held by Dutch savers in foreign bank accounts is estimated at EUR seven billion, the bulk of which is held in Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. De Jager will today sign a treaty with Belgium on the exchange of fiscal data. A similar treaty has already been signed with Luxembourg; the minister is still negotiating with the Swiss but a treaty will probably be signed before the end of the year.
Women cause rift between Christian parties
De Telegraaf reports that the collaboration in the European parliament between the Christian Union and the SGP (fundamentalist Protestants) has ended after 25 years. The SGP has refused to join the Christian Union in a new European party.
The Christian Union asked the SGP to add women to its list of candidates for the next elections but the ultra-orthodox party refused to even consider the request. SGP Chair Wim Kolijn said “We have absolutely no intention of giving in to pressure from, of all people, British conservatives to ditch our convictions regarding [the role of] men and women.”
The Christian Union will join the party of European conservatives led by the British Conservative party.
Coincidentally, the SGP has asked the mayor of the town of Rhenen to ban an after-hours meeting of several thousand members of the NFN (Federation of Dutch Naturists) at Ouwehands Zoo. The local SGP party said “We reject naturism because it says in the Bible that because of the fall of man people must wear clothes to cover their shame.” The SGP wants the mayor to ban the meeting but he has refused to do so because he is no party to the issue.
NFN Chair Henk Jan Kamerbeek said he is annoyed by the SGP’s statements: “We are being ridiculed as weird and pathetic people who do strange things, while about two million Dutch people occasionally recreate in the nude.”
Ajax players on their knees
On the front page of today’s De Telegraaf is a photograph of four Ajax players crawling on their hands and knees with a rather stern looking coach Martin Jol looking on in the background. The paper writes that, on his first day on the job, the new coach appears to have immediately put the fear of God into his players.
The more than 3,000 supporters who had gathered at the stadium to watch the training appeared to have forgotten all about the rather disappointing past season, and called on Martin Jol and his players to grab the national title in the coming season.
Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica