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Ombudsman: "The Kag Makers Documentary Leaves Too Long Room for Debate"

Ombudsman: “The Kag Makers Documentary Leaves Too Long Room for Debate”

Journalists should indicate more clearly what modifications can be made to the programs afterwards. To this end, the press law on public broadcasting must be tightened. That’s the conclusion of Margo Smit, the nonprofit ombudsman (NPO), who explained how the VPRO documentary was made about D66 leader Sigrid Kag. check up.

Posted at the end of June no style Request for documents showing that D66 and the Ministry have interfered with the content of the VPRO documentary Sigrid Kaag: From Beirut to Binnenhof. The Ombudsman investigated the role of VPRO. Neither the State Department nor the D66 procedures have been examined.

According to Smit, the manufacturers did not make any major mistakes. However, they have left the impression “at crucial moments in the decision-making process” for so long that there is still room for adjustments by the ministry or party.

Seat belt and champagne

In the emails, the department made comments about a part Kaag wasn’t wearing a seat belt. The Ministry and D66 also requested an adaptation or omission of a shot in which Kag was greeted with champagne during a working visit in Niger.

“In the end, these dot makers didn’t give up,” Smit says. “They should have been stricter with the agreements for the alterations. It seemed too long as if there was still room to look at that.”

Documentaries come in many different forms, from very personal to purely realistic. In this case, the Office of the Public Prosecutor for Human Rights stated that the journalists are doing their work with complete independence, according to the Ombudsman. According to Smit, this puts the documentary right in the journalistic corner, where journalistic ethical standards also apply to edits afterward.

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very brief

According to Smit, the press law should be tightened to avoid ambiguity. This code, which was put in place for public broadcasting press programs when she took office on January 1, 2017, now states that “a journalist is free to decide for himself how to deal with comments and observations from a source who makes the publication available for inspection.” Realistic errors must be corrected.”

Very brief, in Smit’s opinion. You’d like to see an extension that also mentions context and privacy violation. Even then there will always be discussions, Smit says, and there is certainly no intention of closing all programs in advance, but she really does overcome many points that she now sees as going wrong.

She named: “In the documentary, Cage made a comment to the hairstylist, that seemed to be about politics. In fact, it was about something personal. It’s good to be clear beforehand that this will be amended immediately.”

According to Smit, it is customary to negotiate software content. “Politicians and organizations are trying to influence your work, it’s up to journalists to set limits. They need to be more clear about what they do and what they don’t allow. Law enforcement is the ombudsman’s job.”


VPRO announces itself reinforced The ruling is felt because there is no influence that violates the press rules, according to the opinion of the Ombudsman.

Editor in Chief Stan Van Angelen: “The report supports the view that we consistently make that the film was produced independently. The criticisms of the past week have affected us and we are taking it very seriously. We believe it is very important that we can continue to make films about people in the center of power. This is an important task for journalism We will work with the Ombudsman’s recommendations and elaborate on them in our own investigation.