Broadcasters recognize conclusions of cross-border behavior: ‘This should never be allowed again’

Outgoing State Secretary Gräper expects an action plan from the NPO and the broadcasters within two weeks

NOS Newstoday, 2:45 PMAmended today, 3:51 PM

Nothing seen, nothing heard, nothing done, is the title of the research report into the work culture within public broadcasting. The title and conclusions of the Investigation Committee for Conduct and Culture of Broadcasters (OGCO) do not lie. Transgressive behavior is a widespread issue among national public broadcasters. Signals about this have not been dealt with sufficiently professionally and decisively.

The research report also explicitly mentions the work culture at NOS. Based on the answers in the questionnaire, the committee concludes that transgressive behavior occurs more often at NOS Sport and NOS News than at the rest of the public broadcaster. Negative experiences in the workplace are also reported more often to the NOS, including a less good relationship with managers.

General manager Gerard Timmer says in a response that he recognizes and acknowledges forms of transgressive behavior. “NOS wants to be a safe and social employer. But we have not been sufficiently successful in this. That is painful. We need to discuss this further internally.”

‘Rose game, prey’

Timmer: “We saw the same problems in our own inventory at NOS Sport (from early 2023) and the subsequent external independent cultural research that we had carried out at the entire NOS. This showed that we have work to do in the field of manners. and leadership. The results of the Van Rijn committee underline this.”

At NOS Sport, 85 percent of respondents say they have been the target of or witnessed forms of bullying, intimidation, sexism and discrimination. At NOS News this is 84 percent. Many NOS Sport employees have experienced or seen forms of sexual harassment. Women were seen here as “wild animals” and felt like “prey”, the report states.

There must never again be a culture where transgressive behavior is normalized.

Suzanne Kunzeler, director of BNNVARA

Suzanne Kunzeler, director of BNNVARA, also recognizes the picture sketched in the report. “It is of course also about us. This is an image of which I say: this should never happen again. There should never again be a culture where transgressive behavior is normalized. At The world goes on it became normalized and there was leadership failure at many levels.”

The abuses in the BNNVARA program were partly the reason for the investigation into working conditions at the entire NPO. Employees of the program spoke of a culture of fear and extreme outbursts of anger from presenter Matthijs van Nieuwkerk and some editors.

Van Nieuwkerk has now once again apologized for his “share in the work culture behind the scenes”, reports the ANP news agency. He realizes that as a presenter he has “an exemplary role”. From next spring he will be the face of a weekly program at RTL.


Former video director NPO Frans Klein had hired a lawyer in the run-up to the publication of the report. Until 2014 he was responsible for working conditions at DWDD as media director of VARA, later BNNVARA.

Lawyer Knoops told the ANP news agency that he had objected to passages from the report on behalf of his client. But Knoops did not reveal which passages were involved.

Klein says in an initial response to the report that “things did not go well DWDD“. “That is very sad and I am sincerely sorry,” said the former director.

But not every broadcaster is pleased with the results of the research. For example, broadcaster MAX boss Jan Slagter questions this. “Particularly about whether it is all factually correct. I take everyone who has reported seriously, let me put that first. I take the recommendations seriously. They should have taken another step by checking the facts,” said Slagter.

The broadcaster believes that “hearsay” does not get you far. Slagter: “If you have witnessed something and ten others have too, it remains one incident and not eleven incidents. I would have expected that kind of care.”

A page from the report with reported inappropriate behavior:

Commission of Inquiry
A page from the report on inappropriate behavior

Chairman Thomas Bruning of the NVJ journalists’ union had hoped that the committee had drawn sharper conclusions. “You can only conduct such a large study once, and at such a moment you have to say very clearly: ‘This is what needs to be done now’. If you then come up with fifteen recommendations, we feel that you are not focusing .”

Plan of approach

Outgoing State Secretary Gräper expects an action plan from the NPO and the broadcasters within two weeks. They must make it clear how they will ensure a safe working environment. In response to the investigation report, Gräper said she is “shocked by the nature, extent and intensity” of the inappropriate behavior.

She places the responsibility emphatically on the NPO and the broadcasters. It is their turn to improve the situation and Gräper will keep a close eye on that process.

“I continue to stand for the public broadcaster. The government does not take away the responsibility of the NPO and the broadcasters to ensure a safe workplace as employers. That did not go well here.”

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Broadcasters recognize conclusions crossborder behavior allowed


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