The Danish People’s Party Leader Pia Kjærsgaard is maintaining her proposal to prevent television stations such as al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera from broadcasting to Denmark.
Kjærsgaard sees a major problem in the number of Arabic-language television channels that can be received in Denmark, with claims that families watch programming that indoctrinates children.
“A-Jazeera is al-Qaeda’s mouthpiece and broadcasts what Osama bin Laden has to say. They show hostage-taking and were certainly not with us during the Mohammed crisis, or 9-11. It bears the mark of imams and mosques in all its footage. There is no doubt that it is certainly against the West,” Kjærsgaard says.
Despite widespread political criticism over the weekend, Kjærsgaard says she plans to go ahead with an approach to the Broadcasting Authority to determine which channels should be viewable in Denmark.
The Authority is reported to have said that it is unable to do anything about television stations that are not registered in, or broadcast from, Denmark.
Both the Conservative and Liberal parties have rejected the idea of banning stations.
“I believe we have to protect free speech – including those that we don’t agree with. But, of course, there is the possibility of raising the issue with the Broadcasting Authority if they break the law,” says Liberal Group Chairman Kristian Jensen.
“There is a lot of anti-Western and anti-Jewish propaganda on some of the Arabic channels, but I think that people should be able to receive precisely the channels that they want,” says Conservative Media Spokesman Rasmus Jarlov.
“Freedom of inforation is one of our most basic freedoms. A ban would in practice fuel conspiracy theories that Denmark is trying to subdue Arabic views,” he adds.
Prof. Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen of the Copenhagen University Deparment of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies says there are other stations that are affiliated to political organisations that also have a military wing.
“Among others a-Manar, which is run by Hizbollah and al-Aqsa TV which is affiliated to Hamas. Both are used in anti-Israeli propaganda,” says Skovgaard-Petersen adding that there has also been an increase in the number of religious channels.
“The number of religious channels has grown dramatically, particularly after 2006. It has been suggested that the cartoon issue created growth among the religious channels,” he adds.
In an OPED article, Politiken’s Editor-in-Chief Tøger Seidenfaden says Kjærsgaard’s plans are tantamount to introducing North Korean or Soviet conditions in Denmark.”It’s almost embarrassing to have to put words on how far out into extremism, idiocy and anti-democratic views Pia Kjærsgaard has reached,” Seidenfaden says.