fficial reactions to the news that Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party, can be prosecuted for discriminatory remarks in public are few and far between outside the Netherlands. Obviously the world’s press have decided that the latest development in the Netherlands is not worth commenting on. Surprisingly, Dutch politicians themselves seem to be keeping quiet on the issue; they are probably worried that media attention will only serve to make the controversial politician more popular.
In a run through the comments made on websites reporting on the news, there are those that support Wilders’ freedom of speech and others who wish he hadn’t been given the free publicity.
Saudi Arabian standards
An opinion piece from The Wall Street Journal says there are limits to freedom of speech but “Mr Wilders has not crossed that line”. The paper argues that: “It is controversial speech that needs to be protected. Consensus views need no protection.”The WSJ compares yesterday’s decision to Saudi Arabian standards and warns that it will only“increase support for Mr Wilders’ argument that Muslim immigration is eroding traditional Dutch values.”On a website called Europenews which carries the slogan “no tolerance for intolerance, no apology for being free”, Pamela Geller writes:“The enemies of free speech are closing in, and we have to stand together now and defend it. Everyone who loves freedom and wants to resist the straitjacket of groupthink and the totalitarian imposition of Sharia norms should stand with Geert Wilders now.”
Many of the reactions on the Israeli website Haaretz support Mr Wilder’s position, maybe not surprising as he recently visited the country on a world tour promoting his film Fitna and is a well-known supporter of Israel.
For more information: radionetherlands.nl