Sunday, December 25, 2005

Free speech fined in Flanders

Category:  [in English]  [Lowlands Soul]  [Freedom]

In a recent decision (#2005/113 (PDF), December 16) of the VCM (Vlaams Commissariaat voor de Media) (Flemish Media Commission) a fine of €12,000 (14,836$) was imposed on member of the Flemish parliament and podcaster, (internet radio on demand) Mr. Jurgen Verstrepen.
The decision is apparently politically inspired and motivated by content, although formal reasons like non-compliancy 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.

Mr. Verstrepen became quite popular with a Howard Stern-like weekly Sunday morning Talk Show ZwartofWit (in Dutch, Black or White) simultaneously both on Radio and on TV. In the show, he covered a wide range of controversial subject with uncensored audience telephone input.

What bothered leading officials and government parties most is that he didn’t back off raising sensitive issues like Muslim immigration, and inviting leaders of the right-wing Flemish independence and anti-immigration party VB (Vlaams Blok, Flemish Block) as studio guests.

About the VB

All other Belgian political parties consider the VB to be "racist" and have put a cordon sanitaire (sanitary quarantine circle) around it. They refuse any cooperation or coalition with the VB, blocking it from the state-controlled media (like the government-owned Radio and TV-channels VRT), and heavily and successfully pressuring private media to do so too.
As the situation became embarrassing because the VB kept winning every election and even ended up as the largest party in the last 2004 general elections, both on the Belgian and the Flemish level, - they had to resort to other measures. [The VB can only be elected in Flanders, but Flanders is by far the largest member state of the Belgian federation.]

Near the end of 2004, the VB was convicted in court for being a "racist" party, a trial that has raised some eyebrows here and there, as it was perceived by many as a political trial and technically flawed.
Whatever, since the VB was now a criminal organization, it quickly dissolved itself, and as a Phoenix it formed a "new" party with a different name (Vlaams Belang, Flemish Interests), and with some minor changes in its political program, but with still the same leaders and the same elected parliamentarians.

The vaudeville goes on, by the way, since the new VB faces a trial once more, simply because one its leaders said in an interview with an American-Jewish magazine to be "afraid of the Islam in Europe". The Belgian crown prince Philippe also added to the turmoil earlier this year, by declaring that he would fight the VB because they "want to split my country [Belgium]", - thereby violating the neutral political position of the king as required by the Belgian constitution.

About Jurgen Verstrepen

Mr. Verstrepen apparently didn’t want to give in to pressures from the government (and especially from the Socialist parties in the coalition) to observe some auto-censorship in his ZwartofWit show. But his commercial hosts Radio Contact and LibertyTV discontinued the show for "commercial reasons", while no other channel wanted to host the show either.
It was the second time that Verstrepen had to cancel his show. The first time it was hosted on TOPradio and Kanaal 2 but Belgian’s prime minister, Mr. Verhofstadt was not amused. Verstrepen had to stop it in 2001.

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad on November 16, 2002, Verstrepen told that he was under intense pressure from circles around Verhofstadt who should have said (in Dutch, translated):
If Verstrepen doesn’t stop with that fucking garbage in his columns, I will make sure no official will be his studio guest ever again.
(with thanks to lvb.net for the quote).

In the mean time, the popular and flamboyant media figure and rebel Verstrepen was elected as Flemish parliamentarian in the June 2004 general elections as an "independent" candidate for the VB, on the theme of Free Speech. He subsequently tried to revive his Radio Show as VB6015 on the short waves either analog or in DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale), and broadcasting from outside the Belgian territory. But his providers in the UK and in Germany were allegedly pressured not to do so. In his weblog, Verstrepen stated on May 31, 2005:
We've noticed that international and Belgian press described our project VB6015 as an extreme-right political propaganda broadcast. This is absolutely not the case; this information is false. The talk radio show ZwartofWit (Black or White) can be described as "more stimulating talk radio" and best of all compared with the US talk shows like Rush Limbaugh and others.
[…]
The name of the network was inspired by the nickname Jurgen Verstrepen had been using for years in the Flemish media: "Vlaams Bakkes" which means "Flemish Bigmouth".

Apart from political pressures, the initiative also faced some technical difficulties, as it went from 6.015 MHz over 13.680 MHz to 15.660 MHz. Moreover, not everybody can listen to DRM yet. The program was also broadcasted on the Internet, as a podcast, both streaming and as a MP3 file. Currently, this is the most popular way to listen to the program, as the ether broadcast seems to be discontinued. But it’s unclear, on the VB-site "ether" is still mentioned, but their MP3 archive doesn’t work either.

About the decision

Flanders’s media regulation stipulates that (political) broadcasts are subject to a license when transmitted through the ether. If through the Internet, the VCM must be notified by registered mail. Some excerpts (translated into English):
Art. 34. § 2. Private radio broadcasts have to offer a variety of programs. [...] Either as to content as in broadcasting schedule, there should be no discrimination whatsoever.
[They mean you shouldn’t be Islamophobic; you can tackle the Church, but not Islam; your can tackle locals but not immigrants.]

§ 3. It is strictly forbidden for private radio stations to broadcast programs that jeopardize the public order, public decency, state security or that are insulting to people’s beliefs or to a foreign state.
[They mean you shouldn’t be Islamophobic; you can tackle the Church, but not Islam; your can tackle locals but not immigrants; how can you show porn on radio? Does it involve moaning?].
A private radio station cannot broadcast electoral propaganda.
[Why not? Elections are essential to democracy. And why is it their business?]

Art. 35. Private radio stations must be independent from any political party.
[Why? Parties are essential to democracy. And why is it their business?]

Art. 36. Content broadcasted has to obey current rules of journalism deontology and the impartiality and journalists’ independency has to be guaranteed.
[Why are all the state-controlled media then manned by lefties?]

Art. 37. Broadcasting equipment of private radios should be located in Flanders or Brussels.
[How can they ever enforce that? It’s clearly incompatible with the freedom to establish a business anywhere in the EU].

Verstrepen apparently didn’t either ask for a license nor register his podcasts with the VCM.
Let’s not focus on the ether-broadcasts, since it is perfectly reasonable that the limited ether bandwidth should be regulated and assigned by the authorities. Let’s focus on the Internet podcast instead.

In a preliminary inquiry by the VCM about his station VB6015, Verstrepen objected that the servers he is "transmitting" from are located abroad, and that the content of his program is targeted to Flemish worldwide. The VCM discarded these arguments in its decision, claiming that the content of the VB6015 program apparently is targeted mostly to Flemish in Flanders itself, and that the programs were actually recorded on Flemish territory by a Media Company called "BCC&V" with its seat on Flanders' territory.
They considered the actual location of the transmitting servers as a mere technicality. Furthermore, Radio Stations owned by political parties are outlawed by the Flemish Media regulation.

Opinion

Verstrepen claims that his station offers a broad coverage of subjects like political gossip, politics, media events, music and trivia about all flavors in society, - is indeed slightly creative. Most of the politicians interviewed belong to the VB or at least appear to be very sympathetic towards it. Political issues selected mostly represent VB issues. VB1602 is mirrored on the VB-site and apparently the VB supports it.
On the other hand, Verstrepen claims his Station is independent and personal. He has a point, Radio Vatican is likely to be in tune with Christian-Democrat parties too.

And anyways, the friendly link between VB6502 and the VB is really irrelevant as the state-owned and state-sponsored media like the VRT are mostly populated by left-wing journalists and have an official policy of ignoring the VB. VB1602 just fills a gap in the political media spectrum.

Strictly spoken, the VCM might have a point, but one can wonder if the ban on political Radio Stations is fundamentally not against Free Speech, and if so, one can easily claim a station is voicing concerns of a Think Tank, not of a Party as such.
That’s how all the other parties do it by the way, quite hypocritically.

Verstrepen has been negligent and reckless not registering his Station. If the VCM had denied his request, he would have had a much more valid Free Speech case. He also could have registered his Media Company BCC&V abroad. That’s what the Isle of Man postboxes are for. Concerning the Internet podcasts, his reasoning could have been that a mandatory preliminary registration is unconstitutional, since the Belgian constitution guarantees Free Press and forbids preemptive censorship or state control of the Press.

It’s quite clear that the Establishment and the Flemish media Commissars are playing games with technicalities and use a very wide definition of the concept "broadcast". What they actually want to do, of course, is to stifle Verstrepen’s "free radio" and the voice of the "Vlaams Belang", just because its content is against the convictions of the politically correct ruling Socialists and Social(ist)-"Liberals". [Liberals in the Flemish sense are equivalent with Conservatives in the American sense; in fact the Flemish Liberals gradually evolved into a weak species of Collectivists over the years.]

For Flemish bloggers, the decision (which is not a ruling yet), has alarming consequences to be worried about. If a podcast on the Internet is considered to be a broadcast, what about a weblog then? Especially when the weblog carries some sound too? Since blogged podcasts are sprouting all over, they might be considered to be just a sound-version of a weblog.
None of these podcasts/weblogs has been under scrutiny by the VCM yet. Verstrepen was singled out, just because of his popularity and because of his connection with an "outlaw" party.

But where is the guarantee that problematic, incorrect or "Islamophobic" weblogs won’t take the heath soon too, if the Internet is not a form of Press but a form of Broadcast?
Do the Flemish commissars realize they can only succeed then by imposing a Chinese way of controlling the Internet?

Luckily, this very weblog is hosted on an American server, its content is posted from Asia, and the audience targeted are apparently the inhabitants of the outer moons of Uranus. Prove me wrong, commissars of the VCM.

Postscript

Verstrepen announced 2 days ago on his weblog that he will object the VCM decision, that he will file a complaint against Prime Minister’s Verhofstadt’s personal podcast on his site, the Flemish and Belgian Federal Parliament’s podcasts, - and that he will not pay the fine and will continue podcasting.

As every citizen can report a podcast to the VCM, of which he suspects it might not have been registered,- Verstrepen urges on his weblog today to file complaints against all podcasts of politicians and government institutions to flood the VCM.

Similar posts



Koen Godderis
LVB.net
This post has been picked up by Slashdot
and by Smetty.

39 Comments:

Anonymous Karel Jansens said...

I find it "interesting" that Luc Van Braekel comments on his weblog that Jürgen Verstrepen basically had it coming because the name of his radio station, VB6015, according to him, is a blatant link to the Vlaams Belang.

Am I the only one who puts question marks on that "obvious" link? Or maybe it might have something to do with the fact that Luc Van Braekel is a member of that Flemish liberal party you so lovingly refer to as "a weak species of Collectivists"? You know? That party that kicks out members if they voice dissident opinions too strongly?

12:05 AM  
Blogger VH said...

I can well accept that Verstrepen's nickname was "Vlaams Bakkes", and that he therefore chose the name VB6015. But it's a little bit too obvious and too convenient of course, since his party's name acronym is VB. I suspect Verstrepen had his education with the Jesuits. Si non e vero, bene trovato. It would have been a trifle more plausible if he had chosen JV6015 ;-)

12:26 AM  
Blogger VH said...

And anyways, that's not the point. VB6015 is certainly *not* a party channel. Of course, it's VB-friendly, one can't expect JV to have collectivist sympathies suddenly behind the mike.

But even then, I can't see why political party broadcasts should be forbidden. What are our mandarins affraid of? When they had their programs on the government media (Radio/TV), nobody watched them out of sheer boredom. Are they jealous because JV just makes *good radio* and he gets loads of listeners?

Basically, media shouldn't be regulated on content. The mandarin commissars managed to do it with ether media. Now they will try it with the Net, as they discovered a bit late the Net is becoming a medium too.

I don't think JV is that stupid, my guess is he just put up some good old provocation drama.

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Karel Jansens said...

Well, Vlaams Belang is in the eye of the beholder, then? :)

I agree that the decision of the VCM might not be unwelcome to Jürgen Verstrepen, even that he might be so shrewd as to have orchestrated the whole shebang. After all, he has to know the Belgian media regulations, hasn't he?

Still, to claim that 2 letters in the name of the station "obviously" refer to a party name? Especially if that party itself hardly ever refers to itself by that abbreviation after acertain socialist demi-god party leader (now in a well-paid retiree function) once ordained that politically-correct subjects -- pardon: "citizens" -- should only refer to said party by abbreviation?

1:07 AM  
Blogger VH said...

Let's just say the "perception" is quite strong. It woulds be less if the VB didn't host all the archives of VB6015 on it's site.

I was listening for a while to the station yesterday. What a surprise! We could hear some very hot political info right from the VB men at the top. For now we know that Annemans likes "kroketjes" for his XMas dinner, but his wife makes them seldom because Annemans once mentioned to her that his mom's "kroketjes" were still the best.

Another case of Alzheimer radio apparently.

1:19 AM  
Anonymous LVB said...

Karel Jansens: de start of VB6015 was announced at a press conference on the 27th of May in Flemish Parliament by Filip Dewinter and Jurgen Verstrepen. After I wrote on my blog that I thought this would create a credibility problem, Jurgen changed his tune and started calling it "Vlaams Bakkes".

Oh, by the way, I consider your reference to my membership of the VLD as an ad hominem attack. Like the rest of the politically correct media, you are reacting on who people are instead of what they are saying or writing.

1:58 AM  
Anonymous Karel Jansens said...

@ Hugo:

Of course he's pro-Vlaams Belang. What'd you expect? As to the guests: the fatwah from our red-and-blue ayatollahs kinda prohibits anyone left of the Vlaams Belang to participate, so who're you left with then?

(BTW, I stopped listening. It used to be a good show, until Jürgen brought in the "extras")

As to the contents: Jürgen has stated that he wants to bring American-style opiniated talkradio to Flanders; unfortunately, that includes "kroketjes".

And that is, I think, where all the confusion comes from: American, politically-inspired talkradio is always opinianated; heck, it's supposed to be. Most of the presenters have strong (conservative) political ties, which they don't keep secret. But their programs are not party-political broadcasts, and neither is Jürgens program. He has proven in the past that he is more than willing to let "the other side" have their say, probably more than officially "neutral" state broadcasters are willing to. So claiming that his internet radio is a "Vlaams Belang radio" literally boils down to those two letters.


@ LVB:
So, blowing cold and hot at the same time isn't politically correct then?

"It's not nice what they did to Jürgen, but he had it coming anyway"?

The last time I heard such sophisms was when Theo Van Gogh got slaughtered.

And if you consider mentioning your (publicly known) membership of a political party an ad hominem, I'd seriously consider leaving that party, if I were you. Think about it...

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you should have learned descent and proper English first, before starting a weblog in Shakespeare's language. William is turning himself around in his grave now.

With high regarding,

Elias

12:38 PM  
Blogger VH said...

@Anonymous: I presume you mean "decent" instead of "descent".

But it's an interesting remark. Earlier this year, Newsweek had a cover story about "Who Owns English?". The observation was that most English speakers nowadays are non-native speakers. You have Chinglish, Taglish, Fringlish, Flinglish, and so on... Newsweek's main point was that those flavors have a right in their own, although to pure Oxfordians, they must sound horrible.

Language is communication. I can't afford to put much more time in my English, since I am learning Tagalog too. English is becoming a Lingua Franca all over the world, so it has to bear with non-native speakers. My Dutch, I can assure you, is much better. But my stories are intended for a number of friends that don't understand Dutch.

A few years ago, I asked an American friend what he tought of my English. He said, well, it's certainly better than my Dutch. And I dig your exotic accent.

In Belgium, I have some French-speaking friends and family. When they write in Dutch, it gives me the shivers too. But then, I appreciate their effort. And we can *communicate*.

Hope that helps ;-)
Thanks for your comment anyways!

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Karel Jansens said...

@ Elias:

Just to add to Hugo's spell checking of your comment on his English:

1. Who else would Shakespeare be turning in his grave? Is he buried in a timeshare?

2. I really have no idea from what language you bablefished "With high regarding", but rest assured it is not English by a very long stretch.

3. So how about the contents of the thread then?

and, obviously,

4. [nelson_muntz] Ha-haaa! [/nelson_muntz]

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Hugo & Karel,

I really have no idea why we are writing all this crap in descent steenkolenenglish. Are you maybe convinced that the rest of the world is interested in your epistels on Jürgen Verstrepen and his party the Flemish Decoration Paper? Jesus. Grow up, lads.
Om het over de kern van de zaak te hebben: ik ben dat gemekker over vrije meningsuiting meer dan zat. Als JV zich aan de algemeen geldende regels gehouden had, hoefde hij nu geen dikke boete te betalen.

Cheers.
E.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Karel Jansens said...

It is considered good form to respect the choice of language of a blogger.

It is, OTOH, considered extremely stupid form to point out someone's spelling errors while making some doozies yourself.

And it is considered completely insane to question a blogger's intention to write for "the rest of the world". Of course that's what he thinks, idyit! it is a freaking blog!

It is also quite telling that you claim to be fed up with "the jammering about free speech" (translated from the Dutch part of your post).

Oh, and BTW, the rules you claim Jürgen should have obeyed, are in blatant violation of European and international law, so, according to Belgian law (which puts international laws and treaties above the national legislation), Jürgen was not obligated to obey those rules. Neat, innit?

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Sven said...

What about the podcasts on the site of the Belgian prime minister?

http://www.guyverhofstadt.be/nl/

Of course, his podcasts are not illegal... he got permission from his 'party-mates'. Unfortunately, political opponents don't have that privilege.

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Karel Jansens said...

I'd like to repeat something I wrote on Jürgen's blog: those who now rejoyce because the Powers That Be are trying to shut up the voice of what they consider "extreme right", should not be too happy. A trend has been set in Belgium to forbid the opinions of those who are not in power; at the moment the left is ruling Belgium, but the time will come when a right-wing coalition (or, lore likely, a right-wing party) will overtake them. There is nothing stopping them from using the very same laws and procedures to prevent the lefties from speaking out then.

After all, these "anti-racism" and media controllling laws are not set in the constitution, but in common law, and most of the controlling agencies are under no control of the legislative power, only the government.

Are you scared yet? Well, are you?

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear VH

I would like to add a few things to your article:

1) Filip Dewinter was a guest on the first broadcast of VB6015. He called it "our" project...

2) VB is NOT entirely blocked from the state-controlled media. I'd like to refer to the fact that 3 members of VB are a part of the VRT governing board:
- Dimitri Hoegaerts
- Eric Deleu
- Ludo Leen

3) Verstrepen states that VB stands for "Vlaams Bakkes". As I have a quite critical attitude, I do NOT tend to believe that. The first thing that comes up in my mind is: "Couldn't he find anything better than that?" That's right: it is more than obvious...

4) Verstrepen is constantly complaining about not getting what he's entitled to. Why not act in conformance to the laws? It would certainly spare him from a bunch of problems.
He could do that instead of constantly nagging about irrelevant things...

2:06 AM  
Anonymous Vomit said...

1) I wouldn't care even if the pope or the king himself supported the podcast. Whether or not it is affiliated with any party should not be a condition for a person to be able to speak his mind.

2) "not entirely blocked"? Just because they have some minority seats in a board of governors doesn't mean that there are no memoranda circulating among the journalists of just about any major network and paper that mandate "bad news or no news at all" about this party.

3) See 1.

4) These laws are in violation of free speech. If a law mandates these VH comments (also political speech, just not in audio) to be approved by goverment, no-one in their right mind would obey them. They would be overwhelmed by civic disobedience. And it would be a good thing too. Now it is up to Jurgen Verstrepen to challenge this government attempt to regulate Internet free speech. For a scarce medium as FM short-range radio waves the need for some licensing could be defended. Certainly not for podcasts... Nor for legal transmissions in available spectra abroad.

3:03 AM  
Anonymous Phoenox Valtheta Lightecho said...

God Bless America, and don't mess with Texas. :)

3:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be honest, I don't really care right wing politics. Nor left, up or down wings either. I'm pro-humane politics, no matter religion, colour, ethnical backgrounds etc.

But this kind of discrimination is alarming! Setting ridiculous fines on podcasting is clearly state censorship.

Dear officials! Considering your decision mentioned here: what the heck were you thinking of??? Well THAT's a way to show how to make FREE, DEMOCRATIC and TOLERANT world...

Geen probleem...

6:11 AM  
Anonymous K said...

Oh, for christ's sake....
VB is blocked from the media?
Come on....
The last two times I saw Polspoel & Desmet on VTM there was someone from VB: Jurgen Verstrepen on Free Speech and Gerolf Annemans. This was twice in one or two months.
Anke Vander Meersch was in Morgen Beter recently, Filip De Winter was interviewed alone (so without political counter-candidate) on Terzake, etc.....

The fact that VB is alledgedly blocked from the media in Belgium is just another populist fable invented by VB itself...

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So no-one is interested in the facist goings on in little old Flanders eh? I'm afraid tens of thousands of people around the world are interested in this: you've been Slashdotted.

And yes, it is a matter of concern that unelected Government cronies are trying to shut up people they don't like by selectively applying rules they just made up. It's like the horrible little man who runs the local golf club and takes a dislike to a new member. He makes up new rules to keep "his" club as he wants it to be. The comment that one day another Government of a different political view will abuse these laws is insightful.

And finally, Shakespeare won't be spinning in his grave any time soon. The English on this site is remarkably good. Try reading what native English chavs are writing if you want a comparison with how Shakespeare's countrymen treat the language (www.chavscum.co.uk).

K.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Karel Jansens said...

@ "K":

Interesting. So it isn't true that the administrator of the Belgian state TV, Tony Mary, has declared the Vlaams Belang persona non grata?

It isn't true that he decreed that the Vlaams Belang would not be treated on "his" TV station in the same way as other political parties?

And it isn't true that not only Mr Mary was not reprimanded for this statement, but actually encouraged by his government?

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Karel Jansens said...

Wow! Shashdotted! Kewl...

You go, Hugo!

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Belgian politicians are dumb as usual. Nobody knows that the VB had a podcast on the internet. Thanks to this fine, and all the noise around it, I expect they will receive even more hits .

they are transforming VB members into victims.

Either you choose to forbid this party or you choose to let them do/say whatever they want. But this doublegame is only helping them.

If there are enough flemish idiots to listen to this guy and to enjoy his nationalism/racism/populism... Then be it. That is what a democracy should be.

Idiots should also have their own party.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@anonymous: so 25% of all people in Flanders are idiots?

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

phuc politics period!

1:49 PM  
Blogger VH said...

My point was not to start a discussion pro or con the “Vlaams Belang”. I stand corrected, they are not “blocked” from the government media, they just are a “special case” as the VRT’s CEO stated a few times (may Google help you).
In my (and many others’) perception, they are not treated like other politicians in those media.

Even if Verstrepen is a “scoundrel”, free speech is measured by how we treat the scoundrels. That’s what “The People vs. Flint” was about.

“I may not agree with what you say, but to your death I will defend your right to say it.” Voltaire
“It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” Voltaire

Beyond the particular case of Verstrepen, this incident reveals a fundamental flaw in the Flemish media regulation. Is it a coincidence that Verstrepen was singled out with his podcast, when podcasting is sprouting all over in Flanders, and traditional newspapers also offer video on their websites?
None of them has been harassed yet.

The media regulation had to do, historically with ether broadcasts, to prevent anarchy. But they also introduced a number of content rules like mentioned in my post.

The boundaries between the new and old media are vanishing: newspapers have online versions; digital TV in Flanders is “broadcasted” on the Net infrastructure; local radios are often also podcasted.
So what's happening now is that the VCM tries to hijack the new media and it wants to impose content regulation on Net media.

The issue is, are the new media “Press” (free press is guaranteed by the Belgian Constitution, art. 25) or “Broadcast”?
In my opinion, a media regulator should only safeguard the integrity of the technical infrastructure. It should not regulate content in a preemptive way.
If a blogger or a podcaster or any other content author offers illegal or objectionable material (copyright infringement, child porn, blatant hate talk, scam, spam, personal slander) there are already ways to deal with it, after the fact.

And I certainly have no intention to “mess with Texas” ;-). But Flanders’s commissars shouldn’t mess with its citizen’s freedom either.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Frederick D. aka FreFre said...

The fine is pure bullshit. 100% political arrogance.

3:11 PM  
Blogger VH said...

@The Anonymous "E": "ik ben dat gemekker over vrije meningsuiting meer dan zat".
("I'm puking over that free speech thing").

Well you are in excellent company. So was Stalin. And, quite frankly, I couldn't care less what you have to puke about. If reading makes you puke, then don't read.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We covered some of the Vlaams Belang controversy in our last podcast GoyFire #25. We are post-editing now. For more uncensored 'racist' commentary check out our website: www.goyfire.com

Cheers,
F.B

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Karel Jansens said...

@ F.B:

See? That's what I mean: I find your podcasts repulsive, but at least I know what I'm gagging about.

Well, actually, not so much repulsive as stupid. Just like the Creationists, you ignore basic genetic evidence in favour of an ideology of arbitrary superiority.

If your podcasts were forbidden, I could never have made this intelligent remark and would have been left wandering in the twilight of ignorance. Now, OTOH, I can tell light from darkness, and it didn't take a government nanny to point it out.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Karel,

Your Englisch has never been better than in this amazing blog. Waw, and that for a flemisch nationalist! Jeezes.
Great, Karel. Keep up the good work.

E.

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Karel Jansens said...

@ E.

At least I don't drop Cees all over my posts.

Considering your latest posts in Jürgen Verstrepen's blog, it appears you were clearly jumping in the deep end way too soon. May I suggest a couple of years in the kiddie pool? Here e.g.:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/teletubbies/

Enjoy.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Carel Jazz Jansens,

Thanc you for the suggestion. So cind of you.

Is writing comments on blogs (in englisch) a fulltime job for you?


HAve you read the latest Ian McEwan in Englisch?

Do you speak Englisch the whole day long?

Or only in blogs?

I think I'm falling in love with you.

E.

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Karel Jansens said...

@ Elias:

I took the liberty to review your contributions to this discussion, just to put things into perspective:

You started with commenting -- in bad English -- on the poor use of English in this discussion.

When pointed out the irony of your initial contribution, you retorted by claiming nobody in the world was interested in this blog (while practically at the very same moment Hugo's blogpost got Slashdotted and very quickly became one of the hot topics on /.), adding that you didn't care about free speech anyway. Actually, that last remark was just about the only on-topic contribution you made to the entire discussion (pity you were incapable of more than just that one slogan).

...

And that's it (unless you forgot to "sign" a couple of anonymous messages; it's always hard to tell with the terminally shy); the rest of your posts were half-hearted attempts at creative insulting (which I usually appreciate, if done with just a tad more finesse than your jab) and reverting to the tried-and-tested (actually more like tried-and-miserably-failed) method of going for non-existing spelling errors (that, I have to grudgingly admit, was a stroke of genius: usually people are zooming in on spelling errors, but you made a case on the absence of aforementioned).

So, in parting this last question: Don't you get tired of always being wrong?

12:25 AM  
Blogger VH said...

Considering his bad English, his topics, his hangovers, and his style, could it be... Uncle or... Boutros? ;-)
La caque sent toujours le hareng.

No I won't look at the IP's. That would spoil the fun.
La bave du crapaud n'atteint pas la blanche colombe.

10:59 AM  
Blogger KurieuzeNeuze said...

(I'm writing in Vlaamerican. Don't shoot me people!)

I find it great that people abroad are interested in the VB.
BUT! It seems to me that you are just a little bit underinformed. I think you used to little sources that handle the VB, and just took over the opinion of Verstrepen.
Yes, there is a Cordon Sanitaire around the block. But, what's even worse (for the VB), it's a natural cordon. By this I mean, the other partys can not collaborate with the VB because the VB-opinions are just too radical.
The '70-puntenplan' of the Vlaams Blok, was a 'roadmap' on immigration. The main idea was to send back all foreigners. Even the children and grandchildren of the foreign workers - who we welcomed in the sixties, to keep our mine-industry running - and who were born here.
Also there should be no more immigration. In a EU-country, this is just impossible and inconstitutional. In economic terms, it's an idiotic thing to do.
Another thing is the 'Eigen Volk Eerst'-idea (Own People First). This is a slogan used a lot by the VB-sympathisers, AND it's what made the VB popular. This is a very strong slogan, three words that say it all. It states that every resource - jobs, houses, social services - should be for the own Flemish people first, and if there is anything left, then maybe an immigrant will get a chance.
The '70-puntenplan' has been cancelled by the VB, but they never rejected it and a lot of the ideas are still official VB-standpoint.
The 'Vlaams Belang' is now being sued again for racism. Not because they call themself islamofoob - there's nothing illegal about a fobia - in Jewish Week, which you refered to, but for the fact that that they stated - in the same interview - that: "The islamisation of Europe is a frightening thing. ... If this historical process continues, the Jews will be the first victims. Europe will became as dangerous for them as Egypt or Algeria. So, I return your question. Should Jews vote for a party that wants to stop the spread of Islam in Europe?" (literal quoted from Jewish Week)
By this the VB is provocing the muslim community in Flanders and creating hate and mistrust between muslims and jews, instead of trying to bring them closer together. Flanders, with it's growing multiculturallity, is a perfect place to show how different etnical and religious groups can live together, with dialog instead of conflict.
The VB has a history in taking no standpoint in matters that concern the jewish people. This is because the need the votes of the jewish community, which is very large and powerful in Antwerp. They don't like the jews - they don't fit in the 'Eigen Volk Eerst'-strategie - but they hate the muslims more. To take power in Antwerp, they can never take a stand that would be negative for the jewish.

My point is: The VB IS a racist party. That is why they get less media-attention, and are excluded from power. The other partys can ot work with them because of there stands, not because they just don't like them.

ps: I find it ironic that you use pictures of coulored people on this VB/freedom of speech- issue. I like it thou

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

vb is not a racist party like other countrys it whould be a normal party only whats normal to other is extreme in belguim.
its ironic that a real racist and facist party like(goen rechts) that even warship hitler in public doesent get convicted probably becaus they dont become a threat
yet for the partys in power and the country belguim. this is all about power thats i think is holding this country thogeter
power for the king power for the ruling partys and vb is in theyr way of power. and are using this weapon that is the word racist
to evryone who suport vb and are in the way of keeping belguim alive

12:59 AM  
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