Molly Quell, Courthouse News Service, March 25, 2020
A Dutch court ruled Wednesday that a TV news program does not have to correct itself for paraphrasing racially charged remarks made by a far-right politician.
“Thierry Baudet caused a stir in the House of Representatives last week by saying that he thinks the EU has a preconceived plan to replace the white European race with African immigrants,” TV presenter Natalie Righton said a month ago on the Sunday afternoon program “Buitenhof.”
Baudet, a member of the Dutch parliament, called Righton’s remarks outrageous and demanded a retraction.
She was paraphrasing remarks he made during a debate in parliament in which he said, according to the official transcripts, that the European Union was setting up ferry services “to transfer immigrants from Africa to Europe, to weaken national identities so that there will be no more nation-states.”
VPRO refused to issue a correction, saying in a statement: “The choice of words for that question is a correct paraphrasing of both the statements of Thierry Baudet and the way in which these statements were interpreted.”
On Wednesday, the Lelystad-based Central Netherlands Court agreed that although Righton had used three words Baudet had not – “white,” “race,” and “replace” – the sentiment was similar, both to what Baudet said during that debate and also in other statements.