Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Minister in Witchhunt against Danish TV Reporters

The Danish Minister of Education Bertel Haarder is trying to intimidate journalists in the Danish public service TV. Last sunday he appeared in the evening news programme where he criticised the DR TV-channel's coverage of parental fees for having kids in kindergarten and school day care.

In the last general election the centre right government, in which Bertel Haarder is minister of education, promised to cut the parental fees for having children in municipal kindergartens.

Some of these expenses have consequently been cut for parents, as the limit for parental payment was cut to 25 per cent of the total expense.

Many municipal councils have, however, reacted by increasing the payment for after school day care for kids, in such a way that many parents are worse off than before. The DR TV ran a story about this, in which parents and council politicians were interviewed. Bertel Haarder appeared in the TV studio where he attacked the TV reporter Anders Bech-Jessen very virulently. Anders Bech Jessen was criticised for not coming to the minister first. And the TV reporters were criticised by the minister for bringing wrong figures and statistics.

This information was at a glaring disharmony with the TV report, in which there were interviews of parents and local politicians who told about day care expenses from their point of view. This, however, did not seem to fit well into the minister's world view and agenda.

On Tuesday 9th January in the Danish parliament's question hour, the minister answered questions about the problematic, and he used the occasion to criticise the Danish public service TV for being "propagandistic".

The matter is probably revelatory of a government being under considerable stress. The Fogh Rasmussen centre-right government fears for its public image in the welfare arena, which is dear to many Danes. But does that give the minister the right to intimidate ordinary reporters who are making interviews with ordinary Danes, who talk about their daily lives? Haarder is turning into a kind of mini-Putin with such attempts at hitting at ordinary reporters with the authoritarian state's long arm.

What it therefore amounts to is another deplorable attack on freedom of expression. The minister is seconded by politicians from the Danish People's Party, who are making attacks on TV reporters through their campaign organisation "Critical License Fee Payers", which has recently demanded that "red TV reporters" be fired. Where the "red TV reporters" are is, however, a big mystification to most Danes. On the contrary, Danish TV seems to become increasingly staid and conservative.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Where the "red TV reporters" are is, however, a big mystification to most Danes"

Maybe Fag Duck can find som red reporters amoung the countless former DKP (Danish communist party) members who currently spread their propaganda in P1 (to name a example).

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What it therefore amounts to is another deplorable attack on freedom of expression"

So Bertel Haarder (one of the most popular danish politicans) is attacking the freedom of expression by expressing himself??? Maybe Fag Duck should think again.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog post documents how biased DR is.

6:01 AM  

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