RNW Press Review, Wednesday 16 July 2008
Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.16 July 2008
KPN overcharging for text messages
"Tourist who sends text messages ripped off," is today's front-page headline in the mass-circulation newspaper De Telegraaf.
Many Dutch people who return from vacation are greeted by a bill of hundreds of euros from their mobile providers.
The newspaper writes that "According to the European Commission, the Netherlands largest mobile telephone provider KPN is no more than a 'swindler.'
The company charges its customers extravagant rates for sending text messages from outside the country."
The company was found to charge the highest rates in Europe – EUR 0.55 for an SMS for regular customers and EUR 0.75 for prepaid subscribers.
The average rate in Europe is EUR 0.29, which Brussels still considers too expensive.
The commission can provide subscribers with some consolation because it is planning legislation which will forbid telecommunications providers from charging more than EUR 0.15 per SMS as of the beginning of 2009.
"Brussels says it finds a hard time explaining to EU citizens why the 2.5 billion text messages sent across the border each year cost more than ten times the rate SMS messages sent within the country."
Try and try again
Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin's plans to change one of the "guiding principles" in Dutch - and not only Dutch - legal jurisdiction, that a suspect can be tried only once for the same crime, is again discussed in the newspapers.
He has now sent the text of the new legislation to various committees of legal experts who will review the proposal and then send back their advice. De Volkskrant writes that trying a suspect once for the same crime is "a nearly sacred part of our legal system".
The Public Prosecutor's Office in Rotterdam asked the justice minister to change the rules in light of a murder case from 2001.
After the chief suspect was found innocent, new DNA material surfaced which was said to irrefutably prove his guilt. However it was not possible to try the suspect another time.
De Volkskrant reports that the new legislation will also be good news for people who have been unjustly sentenced. They will have more opportunities to call a retrial and present new evidence.
Amsterdam court overturns naturalisation ruling
De Volkskrant writes that immigrants who come to the Netherlands to be reunited with their families will no longer be required to take a naturalisation test in their own country.
An illiterate woman from Morocco who was refused permission to join her husband in the Netherlands because she had failed the naturalisation test had taken the state to court.
The judge ruled that the government cannot keep people from being reunited with their families because they didn't pass the test on knowledge of Dutch language and culture.
The paper says the naturalisation test ruling, which has been in force since 2005, will still apply to immigrants who come to the Netherlands for reasons other than family reunification. The Justice Ministry has not yet announced whether it will appeal the court's decision.
Something to do with intelligence
AD reports on a survey by Radio Netherlands Worldwide which concludes that most Dutch people abroad find people in the Netherlands less polite than in the countries they are living.
AD interviewed Rutger Castricum, a reporter for the internet site Geenstijl (meaning no style, or poor taste). "As a reporter for Geenstijl, an internet site that's known for being coarse, do you take the findings personally?"
Castricum replies: "Many people consider Geenstijl coarse because they don't understand it. That probably has something to do with intelligence. Geenstijl is just our vision of what's going on in the world."
When asked his opinion of Balinese - Castricum is on vacation in Bali - he says: "The Balinese are nearly servile when it comes to politeness. Ordering something takes a long time. And I do say something. It might come over as rude, but I think of it as bold."
Ill-mannered people in the Netherlands up
The editor of AD, Jan Bonjer, has replied to Radio Netherlands Worldwide's survey with a commentary entitled "Number of ill-mannered people in the Netherlands increasing."
He writes: "The worst is the catering industry. Prices are soaring, while service approaches an all-time low. But at least when they say 'Whaddya want' it's an improvement over a waiter that stares at you with a bored look. Whoever almost gets used to this feels rejuvenated after a week in the United States where there is still service.
“Try to get out of a train in the Netherlands and the people on the platform come at you with a battering-ram . . . Or give up your seat in the train or bus to someone who is feeble. What are you, a moron? Walk with a blind friend and a guide-dog through a shopping street and people almost knock you down . . .
“One can take exception to some of the results of the survey conducted by Radio Netherlands Worldwide among Dutch people abroad. But let's not deny its tenor. Then we deny ourselves the chance for self-improvement. Of course other countries also have their faults. But we come into contact with ourselves the most, both literally and figuratively."
[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]