SBS cans 'anti-social' show as city councils sue

13th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

13 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — SBS 6 has decided against broadcasting the last two planned episodes of its controversial programme 'Probleemwijken' after the show sparked two nights of rioting in the city of Den Bosch last week.

13 April 2005

AMSTERDAM — SBS 6 has decided against broadcasting the last two planned episodes of its controversial programme 'Probleemwijken' after the show sparked two nights of rioting in the city of Den Bosch last week.

The commercial broadcaster was planning to repeat the episode featuring the 'anti-social' suburb of Duindorp in Scheveningen near The Hague, which was first featured several weeks ago. It was also planning to broadcast a compilation episode on Thursday.

However, SBS said instead of the compilation, a "special" episode will be broadcast at 9.55pm featuring the "commotion that has arisen, notably in the media, in response to the series". The broadcaster intends to interview city mayors and politicians in The Hague.

Eindhoven Mayor Alexander Sakkers has demanded that SBS refrain from broadcasting more footage of the southern city's 'problem neighbourhood'.

Both he and Den Bosch Mayor Ton Rombouts are suing SBS for damages.

Riots broke out in the Den Bosch suburb of Graafsewijk on Thursday and Friday night last week after the SBS show featured a man admitting he had sexually abused his eight-year-old daughter. A picture of the victim was also shown.

Claiming that the city council runs an anti-social policy, residents said rapists were treated better then people who committed lesser crimes, such as cultivating cannabis. Anyone evicted from their home for cultivating marijuana is barred from rental housing in the city for three years.

In response to the riots, an emergency ordinance was imposed on the suburb, effectively locking it down as riot police moved in. After order was restored to the district over the course of the weekend and Monday, the suburb was opened up again, but police are still keeping tabs on developments.

Meanwhile, an SBS spokesman refused to rule out the possibility that footage from Eindhoven will be included in Thursday night's special broadcast. This is designed "to illustrate the subject of discussion".  He said criticism from mayors did not influence the broadcaster's decision not to air the compilation.

Sakkers has claimed that SBS has created an incorrect vision of the suburb Woensel-West and its residents. "The residents do not recognise themselves at all in the way that you [SBS] pictured the neighbourhood," he said.

The mayor claimed the broadcast contained "evident inaccuracies". Sakkers said only one of the four main people featured actually lived in the district and other locations that were depicted were not situated in the district either.

"You knowingly mixed up facts and fiction in this manner. You pretend to inform, but you offer crude, choreographed 'entertainment', that in a shocking manner is at odds with what this neighbourhood has tried with great effort from residents to achieve for each other in the last few years."

The Assen Mayor, Dineke van As-Kleijwegt, has also expressed shock at the portrayal of an 'anti-social neighbourhood in Assen East. Leeuwarden City Council is also outraged, claiming that SBS broadcast an exaggerated negative image of its suburb De Wielenpolle.

In other developments, five suspects will appear in Den Bosch Court on Friday on allegations they were involved in the city riots last week. The public prosecutor's office (OM) has opted for an accelerated procedure to send a definite warning to city residents.

A 15-year-old suspect will appear in the children's court on Friday morning. Three 19-year-old suspects and a 31-year-old detainee will also appear in court later on Friday. All five suspects are accused of vandalism and assault and battery.

In total, 15 people will appear in court in relation to the violence last week and the OM hopes to have all cases rounded off within two weeks. 

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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