Netherlands: Quarrels between Muslim broadcasters costing public money

Netherlands: Quarrels between Muslim broadcasters costing public money

The distrust between the Muslim broadcasters is so great that a lot of public money goes to waste.  The annual accounts are inspected by three different accountants.

Quarrels among the Muslim broadcasters cost hundred of thousands of public money annually, which in the end does not go to radio and TV, according to an analysis of annual accounts and budgets of the Stichting Verzorging Islamitische Zendtijd (SVIz, Foundation for Islamic Airtime), seen by Trouw.

The SVIZ was established in November 2007 in order to equally divide the airtime and broadcast money among the two quarreling Muslims broadcasters, the Dutch Muslim Broadcaster (Nederlandse Moslim Omroep, NMO) and the Netherlands Islamic Broadcaster (Nederlands Islamitische Omroep, NIO).  Meanwhile the costs for lawyers, accountants, external advisers and hired employers have gone up considerably.

Maurice Koopman, business manager of SVIZ, admits that a lot of unnecessary money goes to these issues.  Chairperson Tineke Bahlmann of the Dutch Media Authority said on being questioned that indeed a number of sums in the budget seem very high.

The lawyers in two court-cases since November 2007 along cost two hundred thousand.  The proceedings were instituted by both the Foundation and administrations.  The juicy detail in this story is that the lawyer-costs were all paid from the budget that the SVIZ divides among the broadcasters.  This means that the lawyers for both sides were being paid from the same pot.

Since the three associations do not want to work administratively with each other anymore, the yearly accounts are also each inspected by their own accountants.  This means that several accountants come to the SVIZ, each checking the same joint account over and over. Since November 2007 that cost almost a hundred thousand.

Koopman as business director also costs 1,500 euro a week for a day and a half of work.  In January of this year he appointed Roelof Vlieg as controller, costing 750 euro a day for one day a week.

Source: Trouw (Dutch)

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