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Censorship Government Politics

Podcasting Censored by Government 241

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the censor-what-you-don't-want-to-hear dept.
PodCoward writes "VH is blogging that in Belgium a former talk-show host and now member of parliament for the biggest political party, Jurgen Verstrepen, received a fine of 12,500 Euro because he hadn't asked permission for his podcast." From the article: "The decision is apparently politically inspired and motivated by content, although formal reasons like non-compliance with Flanders' media regulation have been put forward in the motivation of the decision to fine. The issue has raised some serious concerns about free speech on the Internet in Flanders, about the definition of 'broadcasting,' and about territoriality."
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Podcasting Censored by Government

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  • by kc32 (879357) on Monday December 26, 2005 @08:31PM (#14341993)
    In 1995, Oceanic soldiers were locked in a battle with the Eastasians in...
    *STATIC*
    We are at war with Eurasia. We have always been at war with Eurasia.
  • d'oh (Score:5, Funny)

    by joe_bruin (266648) on Monday December 26, 2005 @08:34PM (#14342004) Homepage Journal
    Stupid Flanders, always censoring the Internet.
  • Yet another nail in the coffin for the idea of having more EU control over the internet.
    • by Jugalator (259273) on Monday December 26, 2005 @10:16PM (#14342356) Journal
      ???

      Would you immediately generalize in the same way to cover the policy of the entire US when it's about a whacky decision in one state?

      I hope you do, as European countries are less tied to the EU than US states are to the USA.
    • This case is setting up an interesting collision between Belgium's domestic legislation and the European Convention on Human Rights [hri.org] (ECHR), comparable to (...although differing in detail ...) the collision between state and federal law in the USA.

      This is a good thing. Ideally, of course, anti-racists or anti-anti-Islamicists would simply find a way to outtalk or otherwise pursuade racists, using reason, logic et cetera. But in the real world, it's normal and human to take shortcuts, especially where local

  • by timecop (16217)
    Why there's like a million different terms related to MAKING a blog, [wikipedia.org] but not a single one for "reading" blogs? Could it be a hint that blogs are write-only media, and nobody actually wastes time reading them? At least thats the impression I get, because every blog I ever seen is just filled with mundane tripe/copypaste from other sites and/or blogs. What is the point, anyway?
  • Belgium Man (Score:3, Funny)

    by netglen (253539) on Monday December 26, 2005 @08:41PM (#14342027)
    What do you expect from a country named after a vile curse word?
  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday December 26, 2005 @08:42PM (#14342029)
    After RTFA, it appears that the fine does not stem from the fact that he had a podcast. He was fined because he had on some guests from a deemed racist political party. Certain European countries get very limp-wristed on these issues and try to deny that such people and problems exist. They would rather sweep the problems of racism under the carpet and pretend these whackjobs don't exist. That is where the fine came from.
    • by whatthef*ck (215929) * on Monday December 26, 2005 @09:07PM (#14342114) Homepage
      After RTFA, it appears that the fine does not stem from the fact that he had a podcast. He was fined because he had on some guests from a deemed racist political party. Certain European countries get very limp-wristed on these issues and try to deny that such people and problems exist. They would rather sweep the problems of racism under the carpet and pretend these whackjobs don't exist. That is where the fine came from.

      Ah, the guy wasn't fined because he had a podcast, he was fined because of the content of his podcast. That's a very important distinction.

      I feel better now.

    • Discovering this was very interesting to me, as I had heard that Europe was less racist than the United States...

      When I heard about the riots in France, I was shocked that they had the same problems we had...

      ===

      That sort of censorship MAY have a good motive (that is, the concept the lawmakers might have is that if they don't publicize the racism, if they try to stamp it out through not acknowledging it, that it may eventually just 'burn itself' out...) ... but it ignores the fact that knowledge passes on th
    • by yupie (772822) on Monday December 26, 2005 @09:21PM (#14342157)
      He was fined because he had on some guests from a deemed racist political party.

      Not exactly. He was fined because
      • the podcast is considered to be a radio-transmission, and radio-transmissions should have been declared as such to the appropriate government services beforehand;
      • the radio/broadcasting cannot be linked to a political party;
      • by placing the podcast on non-Belgian servers (US, formerly in Russia and others), he is falsely claiming it to be not-Belgian or not-Flemish, whereas in reality it is targetted to Flemish people.
      It has to be admitted that, for some time, the same podcast was also transmitted on shortwave. This is no longer the case, due to some inventive and intensive lobbying of opponents.

      Of course, in reality, the only reason why this is happening is that the author (Jurgen Verstrepen) is member of an alledged racist party. Any policical or governmental means possibly are being deployed in this country to weaken their rights of freedom of speech. The case of considering podcasts as equal to radio broadcasting (other political parties or government organisations have websites with audio and/or video, without any problem so far), and fining them as such, is just another illustration. Sometimes I wish the Belgian government would be more adherent to the principle once stated by Voltaire (and, ironically, by default printed on all publications of one of our universities): I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.
      • Sometimes I wish the Belgian government would be more adherent to the principle once stated by Voltaire (and, ironically, by default printed on all publications of one of our universities): I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.

        Voltaire never said this. It is a famous non-quotation by Beatrice Hall from 1907, well over a hundred years after the death of Voltaire. Please don't propogate urban myths.

      • by Krommenaas (726204) on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @05:35AM (#14343707) Homepage
        He was fined because he broadcast a radio program on short wave without getting the required permit, and because he started a radio station with a clear link to a political party (the radio station was in fact announced on a press conference of said party). He broke two laws, and he gets fined for it - that's all there is to the story. The podcast itself has nothing to do with the fine. Being masters of propaganda, the Vlaams Belang have spun this story to their advantage, and they've done it so well that their version made it on Slashdot. Some facts for non-Flemish people:
        • The Vlaams Belang gets almost all its resources from tax payer money which, like all Belgian parties, it gets in direct proportion to the number of votes it gets in national elections. If there were indeed a campaign to silence the party, the first action would be to take away this funding. This would have been possible after the party was condemned in court for racism, but has not been done, precisely so as not to make them martyrs.
        • The Vlaams Belang is an extreme right-wing party, openly aligned with Jean-Marie Le Pen, the French politician known among other things for calling the Holocaust a footnote in history.
        • The Vlaams Belang's party program used to include separate schools and separate social security for immigrants, and forced deportation on military cargo planes to their countries of origin.
        These things should of course not affect their right to free speech, but they should tell you how they use that right. The desinformation in this Slashdot article is an example.
    • So because the broadcast featured guests that were considered racists, then it's okay to censor it? How is this different from any other case of "we don't like your views so we're not going to allow you to express them"? Just because it's the Left that is doing the censoring doesn't make it right.
    • Well, it's not like these things are denied in europe. Some dumbass politicians just feel that censorship will do anything to curb this.
      The end result? Nobody dares to discuss these things in public forums and the racists themselves set up private forums in which they ban anybody showing dissenting opinions. Great going.
    • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv@gmCOFFEEail.com minus caffeine> on Monday December 26, 2005 @10:01PM (#14342301) Homepage
      preface: I am an american myself.

      First of all, why do Americans have to get so high and mighty about Europe's anti-Nazi laws? Every time I hear someone go off on a law like this it's like a European gets their foot chopped off when they utter the word "Hitler" or "Nazi."

      I really can't speak for any of these laws, but what I can say is that just because such a law exists doesn't mean it's all that bad, even if it seems counter to our own constitution. Our own constitution at times seems flawed, in that the right to bear arms is felt by some to be completely unnecessary and constantly misinterpreted by modern governments.

      And what's worse is that people think that free speech in America means being able to say racist and ethnic slurs so that no law is created that might on the off chance prevent someone from actually uttering the word "nigger" or "dirty jew" in a sentence that is not meant as a racist slur but in an intelligent adult discussion about the evils of racism.

      My Major problem with racism and racist fucks is that to me it's really a form of slander or libel, except you are doing it against an entire race. You can't publically call someone a baby killer, so why the fuck can these people in America call Blacks and Jews baby killers?

      In an ideal world you have evolving government and changing laws. There's no reason to think a democratically elected government cannot craft legislation that put forms of racist language on the level of libel.

      And how does this relate to Nazism? That's the whole point. Europe witnessed the horrors of Hitler first hand and up front. The US has these weird rose colored glasses on at times. We agree Hitler was a bad guy, but we preserve our right to free speech because we should be able to say absolutely anything we want at all times. However, maybe if we stopped allowing whites to publically slur other races sooner, we could have ended segregation sooner, prevented Japanese Americans from being sent to internment camps, and prevented our own ethnic crimes from being committed in Tuskeegee [wikipedia.org].

      You can't cry fire in a crowded theater, you can't call Bush a baby killer without proof, and you should not be able to go onto a radio show and say blacks and jews are causing an increase in crime and disease and should be thrown in jails.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        "First of all, why do Americans have to get so high and mighty about Europe's anti-Nazi laws? "

        Ah, youth.

        The reason those of us who have been educated with a sense of history is that the Europeans claim to believe in free speech, but they don't. You see, free speech means "Freedom to offend people". We broke away from England because of that principle, and we fought two great wars on the continent to defend those principals (against Nazis!). To see the Belgians, French, and Germans disregard the millions
        • by jasonditz (597385) on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @12:30AM (#14342859) Homepage
          Do you think if we stopped talking about racism it would disappear? Seriously?

          Actually that's one of the benefits of these laws from the perspective of someone who doesn't have to live under them. They provide a nice counter-example to prove that criminalizing an unpopular opinion does not make that opinion vanish.
          • Actually that's one of the benefits of these laws from the perspective of someone who doesn't have to live under them. They provide a nice counter-example to prove that criminalizing an unpopular opinion does not make that opinion vanish.

            And I honestly can't think that anyone's so braindead to believe that making the denial of the holocaust an illegal act will somehow make everyone automagically believe that it happened. Just like having the right of free speech or privacy in the US constitution does n

        • > We broke away from England because of that principle, and we fought two great wars on the continent to defend those principals (against Nazis!). [...]
          > First, America sent its sons and fathers to die to defeat Hitler;

          You make it almost sound as if the US deliberately entered the wars just to defend those principles.

          And did those Europeans not fought in those wars to defend their freedom? And weren't those laws enacted by Europeans, who not only lost their father and sons in said wars, but also their
        • This is exactly what's wrong with the grandparent. The Euros are a bunch of censors when it comes right down to it.
      • However, maybe if we stopped allowing whites to publically slur other races sooner, we could have ended segregation sooner, prevented Japanese Americans from being sent to internment camps, and prevented our own ethnic crimes from being committed in Tuskeegee.

        All of those travesties were committed by racist governments. Such governments are not going to pass racist speech laws (at least not laws they intend to enforce), and non-racist governments aren't going to commit such actions regardless of whether rac
      • "However, maybe if we stopped allowing whites to publically slur other races sooner, we could have ended segregation sooner, prevented Japanese Americans from being sent to internment camps, and prevented our own ethnic crimes from being committed in Tuskeegee."

        As another poster already pointed out, that's utter bunk.

        "preface: I am an american myself."

        Well that explains it; but you forgot the "self-loathing" part. You seem to think that racism and other forms of bigotry and oppression are unique to America
      • And what's worse is that people think that free speech in America means being able to say racist and ethnic slurs so that no law is created that might on the off chance prevent someone from actually uttering the word "nigger" or "dirty jew" in a sentence that is not meant as a racist slur but in an intelligent adult discussion about the evils of racism.

        The point of free speech is not to protect what people want to hear, it's to protect unpopular viewpoints that people don't want to hear. Sure, you don't wa
  • by harryseldon (29164) on Monday December 26, 2005 @08:43PM (#14342035)
    And it will be called "campaign finance reform".

    Have opinions on candidates? Have a blog? Comment on blogs? Hit tipjars? Too vocal and influential?

    Look forward to visits from the FEC.

    Money is speech, speech is money. Talk too much and you'll be over the limit for campaign contributions.

    Thank the honorable senators McCain and Feingold.
    • If you are spending more than the amont of money allowed in a policitcal campaign on a weblog or a podcast, well first of all you have too much money lying around. Second, you are a really crappy shopper because you can get the exact same services for a much better price.

      On a more serious note (and a bit off topic, this entire discussion has absolutely nothing to do with the actual article should you ever choose to read it), blogs are the perfect solution to the campaign finance problems. They are effec

      • Ah, but how much is too much? If it's running on your own computer, better check the cost of the computer and bandwidth. If it's running hosted on someone else's server, is it just the monthly fee that counts? Or do they include the cost of your desktop that you're using to post your blog from?

        When you have those answers definitively from McCain/Feingold, let us know. Then you can whine about people having too much money lying around.

        • Actually, the restrictions on issue ads only applied to radio and television ads and only banned money from unions or corporations. They do not restrict you from spending your own money to advocate some political position. So none of those costs are included.

          The only way blogging could be affected by these restrictions would be if you were to donate over $2000 for him to set up his blog. And if a politician is requesting more than 2 grand so that he can create a blog, he is pulling your leg.

    • Two talk show hosts were ruled to have provided "in-kind" political contributions [shotinthedark.info] by supporting a gas-tax repeal.

      More here [nwsource.com].

      Free-speech has been repealed by John McCain and the courts.
    • Money is speech, speech is money.

      "What are you cuffing me for, officer??? What do you mean I can't offer to slip you twenty bucks for forgetting what your radar gun said! I was exercising my right to free speech!"

      Bribes, no matter what you call them, are not "speech". Speech is speech. If I choose to make a posting on my own blog, or here on Slashdot, or (fill in the blank), of course that should be my right, political or not-and it is. No one's stopping me, and no one's stopping you either.

      If I'm w

      • If I choose to make a posting on my own blog, or here on Slashdot, or (fill in the blank), of course that should be my right, political or not-and it is. No one's stopping me, and no one's stopping you either.

        Considering McCain-Feingold, that is far from clear. Do you pay hosting fees for your blog? Aha, that's "money" and not "speech". And what about the time you spend blogging when you could be working? The opportunity cost of your time is obviously equivalent to a cash donation. (Don't laugh; that's not
        • > Bribes are not speech
          Considering McCain-Feingold, that is far from clear.


          I think the problem here is the implementation. Like most laws, it is flawed. I would not be surprised to learn that somewhere along the line from being just a bill to becoming a law it was deliberately made flawed by someone with an interest in the status quo.

          But the fundamental concept that that bribes are not speech is sound - don't let that part get lost in the noise here. When it comes time for McCain-Feingold II, we shoul
        • The main issue I see as to where the dividing line should be drawn is incidental vs. total, and individual vs. corporate.

          It is "incidental" that anyone pays for hosting fees on their blog, same with wasting a bit of time at work. The primary object of either of these things is not to contribute toward the candidate, they are incidental. Even if you start up a website on your own that -happens- to grow large, that's incidental.

          On the other hand, if you do a massive amount of work on the candidate's "offi

  • by wealthychef (584778) on Monday December 26, 2005 @08:51PM (#14342061)
    The issue has raised some serious concerns about free speech on the Internet in Flanders,

    Can any concern about Flanders be considered a serious one? That's like saying there are serious concerns about what a father of four decides to have for dinner.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday December 26, 2005 @08:55PM (#14342069) Homepage Journal
    Freedom isn't easy.
    If you have ever heard Roosevelt's speech on the four freedoms can see just how hard it is.
    The four freedoms are
    Freedom of speech.
    Freedom of worship.
    Freedom from fear.
    And Freedom from want.

    How can you have freedom of speech and freedom from fear? Belgian is trying to give it's population freedom from fear be limiting racist speech. It is a trade off. It is really up to the people of Belgian to decide if that is a trade off they want. The US believes in a different set of trade offs. I tend to feel those are the correct trade offs for the US. Belgian is a democratic country and can and should work out what it thinks is best for it's population. Hopefully this is being debated in Belgian.
    • "How can you have freedom of speech and freedom from fear? Belgian is trying to give it's population freedom from fear be limiting racist speech. It is a trade off."

      Not at all. Freedom from fear can ONLY come from inside yourself.
    • Ummm, it's Belgium not Belgian. Those are the waffles.
    • And then of course, there's actual freedom, which FDR took away from 100,000 Japanese-descended American immigrants when he put them into internment camps for the duration of WWII. Of course, when he did that he was protecting the rest of us from the fear that the Japanese gardener down the street wasn't plotting to take over California.

      • And my great grandfather got his drug store burned down in 1917 in upper state New York because he happened to be from Germany. What happened to the Japanese was wrong, what happened to my grandparents was also wrong. Tour point is? BTW FDR didn't like the idea but was left with little choice the public and the military where terrorized and demanded action. Like I said it was wrong but that has nothing to do with this discussion.
        • My point is that it's one thing when an angry mob does something illegal in anger and it's another when the government does it as a matter of national policy. It would have been a bit different if the New York state police or the U.S. Army burned down your grandfather's store as part of a national campaign against ownership of businesses of anyone descended from Germans.

          The other point is that freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution go out the window in times of war. It was that way during the Civil War,
    • Ah, finally someone gets it. In the US, it seems to me that freedom of speech is taken a little too serious. Belgian law considers freedom of speech to end where the freedom of fear (or any other freedom for that matter) ends for someone else - racism is one of those. Now, the problem with this racist podcast is that it is hard to fight since it was on a foreign server, which is why Belgian anti-racist law does not apply directly to it. So, justice had to take a little detour. It's a bit like nailing Al Cap
      • "Ah, finally someone gets it. In the US, it seems to me that freedom of speech is taken a little too serious. Belgian law considers freedom of speech to end where the freedom of fear (or any other freedom for that matter) ends for someone else - racism is one of those."

        You see I feel differently. In the US we tend to believe the best way to fight things like racism is to have it out in the open. It is part of the idea that "Evil can only thrive in dark places". If the US outlawed the KKK and the Nazis they
  • by burne (686114) on Monday December 26, 2005 @09:02PM (#14342091)
    A novell idea. Let's use slashdot to gain exposure and some credibility for what most people would consider to be the whining and howling of a bunch of racists.
  • by lowieken (522530) on Monday December 26, 2005 @09:03PM (#14342098) Homepage
    The judgement only quotes existing law when it mentions podcasting:
    Officially, every "radio service" operator who has Flanders as his primary audience should inform the appropriate government institution of this. Podcasting is also considered a "radio service". The accused didn't do that, but Vlaams Commissariaat voor de Media makes no problem of that. In fact, the verdict sounds to me a bit like begging to do away with that requirement.

    The actual conviction has nothing to do with podcasting:
    * the program was also an analog radio broadcast channel
    * the analog broadcast channel was for one political party
    * it is illegal to operate an analog radio broadcast channel for a single political party in Flanders
    * it is illegal to operate an analog radio broadcast channel with Flanders as its primary market without a Flemish government permit. They didn't have one.

    B.T.W. Jurgen Verstrepen is a member of parliament for Vlaams Belang, successors to Vlaams Blok, both generally considered extreme right wing parties. Even if on most issues including part of immigration policy, they are probably to the left of the Republicans in the US or Howard in Australia...
  • This is a surprise? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by qurve (689356) on Monday December 26, 2005 @09:04PM (#14342101)
    Most countries in europe do not recognize the right to free speech. Look at the anti-nazi-speech laws in Germany and many other countries in europe. The most important speech to protect is the speech that you despise.
    • Free speach restrictions in Europe are much more pervasive than this. For example look at the French restrictions requiring TV and Film content to be 51% European.

      • I fail to see what requirements on the selection of entertainment products has to do with free speech.

        As far as I can tell, French TV stations could broadcast interviews with Americans 100% of the time without running afoul of any French media laws.
      • I seem to recall Rupert Murdoch gained his American citizenship [wikipedia.org] specifically so he could own FOX, as the rules on media ownership here (in the US) were very opposed to foreign ownership. Is this an example of the kind of thing you mean?

        Most countries, the US included, heavily regulate radio broadcast media (such as audio radio and television), including ownership and content. This is because there's limited spectrum, so it seems reasonable to ensure it's used "for the public good".

        • Rupert Murdoch gained his American citizenship specifically so he could own FOX

          This was an attempt to convince the FCC that purchasing FOX would be acceptable under foreign ownership rules. However since Newscorp was still 85% foreign owned this turned out to be not a major factor in the decision to allow Newscorp to purchase FOX. The FCC can decide to approve foreign media ownership if it can be convinced doing so is in the public interest.

          Most countries, the US included, heavily regulate radio broadcast m
    • Most countries in europe do not recognize the right to free speech.

      Actually all of them recognize it, at least those in the EU, since they have to subscribe to the European Charter of Fundamental Rights [eu.int] (see article 11) to be allowed in the EU. But it's more complex than that, see this post [slashdot.org].

  • Anonymously said (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 26, 2005 @09:06PM (#14342108)
    The fact is, that it is a crime in Belgium, to frankly or subtly set up one people to hate another, whether it is because of being a different race, sexual preference, or religion. This article is abusing, by posing Johan Verstreken as a victim. Don't be fooled by it. The article plays its role. Verstreken is member and politician of the VB in question. And VB is Belgiums' biggest nightmare after WW II. The issue is so sickening, that I even have to post anonymously.
    Now look what hate has done to Europe in the 1930ies and look what it does to the world now. Freedom of Speech? The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good, in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. How much freedom is there in a lie, or in half the truth?

    How much freedom is there in hate?
    • by Dr Damage I (692789)

      How much freedom is there in a lie, or in half the truth?

      How much freedom is there in hate?

      Who decides what is or is not a lie?
      Who decides what is or is not hatred?

      If your answer is anything other than "me", you are a hateful liar. This is why freedom of speech must include those things which an individual might consider hateful or a lie. Otherwise freedom of speech is nothing but a hateful slogan chanted by liars.

    • Re:Anonymously said (Score:2, Interesting)

      by VomitInc (941517)

      Ah, so funny, these defenders of free censorship. Some more interesting facts:

      • Yes, the Vlaams Belang is Belgium's worst nightmare, but because it wants Flanders' independence, not because it is national-socialist. On the contrary, it is not socialist at all, only Flemish nationalist. Flemish nationalists are like the Irish, but without the terrorism: they just want to live in an independent Flanders and want to jettison the foreign Wallonia that constantly wants other policies and has undemocratic vetoin
    • Verstreken is member and politician of the VB in question. And VB is Belgiums' biggest nightmare after WW II. The issue is so sickening, that I even have to post anonymously.

      So fight these people with ideas and argumentation, not with censorship and selective misinterpretation of broadcast laws. The apprehension many people feel about the idea of multiculturalism will not go away by such censorship and prosecution, on the contrary. Everyone who leaned towards the viewpoints of the VB party will now be d

  • So many politicians do things which severely harm the democracy of their country, which have been build carefully in their nations history. We know what democracy is, we certainly know what freedom is. Flander people use your vote to get politicians who enable true freedom of speech. How is it possible so many politicians misuse their powers to restrict this freedom? It is this freedom that is a fundament for democracy and also for their jobs.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is censorship, but not regulation of free speech on the internet. The man who did the podcasts was NOT fined because of his broadcasts, he was fined because he broke the law on discriminatory speech.

    To put it simple: the guy is fined for broadcasting racial crap (the nasty kind, not an intellectual discours on racial differences), which is a serious offense in Belgium.
  • Disinformation (Score:3, Informative)

    by redzebra (238754) on Monday December 26, 2005 @10:44PM (#14342467)
    This has nothing to do with censorship. A guy who also does podcasts, gets a fine for not respecting local media restrictions (like requesting a licences for analog radio broadcasts and registering yourself,) See pdf regarding convinction in article (dutch sorry)

    As usual here in Belgium, justice department works a bit slow and it's actually for some analog broadcasts in the past (which now have been replaced with podcasts) he gets fined and gets urged
    to do everything according to existing regulation.

    The guy is political active for a convicted racist party and it's supporters now try to use this bit as propaganda to tell he's getting censored because of his content instead. Most politicians in Belgium are trying hard to ignore this kind of people but sometimes fail to due to the provocative nature of the party in question.
    • The guy is political active for a convicted racist party

      A "convicted racist party". I think that tells us just about everything we need to know about 'free speech' in Flanders.

      Max
      • Please read this post [slashdot.org] and the replies to it. See also articles 11 and 21 of the European Declaration of Fundamental Rights [eu.int]. As that poster said: if rights conflict, you have to make a choice.
        • Any country which would limit the speech of those deemed racist has no free speech at all, no matter how it pretends otherwise. Freedom of speech is meant to protect those you despise as well as you - not *just* you and your buddies.

          If you don't get this very simple concept, you don't have the first clue what the word 'freedom' actually means.

          Max
          • No country has absolute free speech, e.g. slander and libel are illegal in the US as well. Where exactly the border is drawn depends a mostly on historical reasons and has nothing to do with "me and my buddies" <g>
    • A guy who also does podcasts, gets a fine for not respecting local media restrictions (like requesting a licences for analog radio broadcasts and registering yourself,)

      Important questions are: are there other people who are also failing to comply with local media restrictions? Are those people being fined as well? What is the content of other illegal broadcasts?

      Enforcement of the law is fine. It is selective enforcement of the law, based upon content, that concerns me. We're dealing with the same issue
  • Belgium (Score:2, Informative)

    by Enquest (579041)
    I guess most of you don't know that Flanders is a part of Belgium. And Brussels is the captial of Belgium. I live in this contry. Jurgen Verstrepe is a member of the very right wing party in Flanders. There is a law in Flanders that a politician can not have his own radio station. Radio shouldn't be partial ore biased to a certain political group. This man run a radio station from out of Germany for a few weeks. For that he got fined. His blog was also seen as a radio station. I must say the law in Belgium
    • They seem like a very reasonable party to me.

      They want to abolish wealth redistribution and escape the shackles of the french-speaking socialists aka walloons.

      They want to have a referendum on the European constitution - very unusual for any european party, for the most part the anti-democratic eurosocialists prefer to avoid all that democracy stuff and just impose more and more of the european behemoth on their subjects without asking them for their opinion on the matter, so good for you VB!

      And the VB are

    • "I guess most of you don't know that Flanders is a part of Belgium. "

      We do. A very popular poem in the United States is "Flander's Field", written by a the Canadian Dr. John McCrae. Its probably the saddest poem I've ever read:

      IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
      Between the crosses row on row,
      That mark our place; and in the sky
      The larks, still bravely singing, fly
      Scarce heard amid the guns below.

      We are the Dead. Short days ago
      We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
      Loved and were loved, and now we lie
      In Fland
  • I'm Flemish and I hear about it first on Slashdot. Do you really think this is news? For nerds or other human spieces?

    The rant about VB has gone on now for decades, quite frankly we're al fed up about it. Actually, the fine will earn VB those extra few votes they need to gain executive power. The other Flemish politicians are shooting themselves constantly in the foot. And the media (now including Slashdot) are giving them a helping hand!

    BTW: I never voted VB, yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 27, 2005 @05:31AM (#14343697)
    For the sake of clarity:

    - Jurgen Verstrepen, the presentator of the program, is a high profile member of the political party Vlaams Belang / Vlaams Blok.
    - Vlaams Blok was convicted in Belgium because of strong racism (and the lies they used to spread it). They changed their name to Vlaams Belang.
    - Jurgen Verstrepen has a history of spreading racism on the media. He used to have a talkshow before on local radio where racists could spread their hate freely.
    - The heart of Vlaams Blok is made up by old school nazi's. These people are orgaznized, prepared and ideologically strong. This is what make this fascistoid party dangerous.
    - Aside of racism and a new order ideology (break the unions and a police state) their main goal is the destruction of Belgium.

    Please put the headers in perspective,

    A concerned Belgian citizen.
  • Reality Check!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by lucason (795664)
    Jurgen Verstrepen was never a talkshowhost, and certainly not in the American sense of the word. He had a talk radio show for a couple of months on a new radio station with a couple of thousand listeners.

    Secondly, the "biggest party" referred to (Vlaams Blok aka Vlaams Belang) is only the biggest party in 1 city in the country, and does NOT participate in government on ANY level in the entire country.
  • I think the question is whether VH is blogging with Sammy or Dave? The real VH only ever blogs with Dave, man.
  • He was broadcasting on Digital Radio Mondiale [drm.org], an AM-band digital radio service. That's the part he got slammed for. He should've done what everybody in Europe that doesn't want to comply with local broadcasting laws does, and set up a storefront operation in Luxembourg and put on one program in the middle of the night in the unintelligible Letsebuergisch language. Not that I usually hand out advice to far right nutjobs, but there.

    Also, just a podcast would also have been just fine and dandy.

Swap read error. You lose your mind.

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