The Independent (15 September 2015)


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The newspaper made this offer more than a month after being notified of the complaint. The newspaper denied that the image of Mr Corbyn was misleading; it had obviously been manipulated to lampoon him.


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Relevant Code Provisions. Clause 1 Accuracy. In cases involving the Regulator, prominence should be agreed with the Regulator in advance.

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Findings of the Committee. The newspaper was entitled to speculate about the potential consequences of a refusal by Mr Corbyn to join the Privy Council, and whether similar reasoning had played a role in his decision to accept membership. These were not, however, the terms in which the article was framed. While the article included some explanation of the link the newspaper had drawn between the two — including the quotation from the QC — it did not acknowledge that Short money is not formally conditional on Privy Council membership. The presentation of the claims in this form, without clarifying information, constituted a failure to take care not to publish misleading information.

This represented a further failure to take care not to publish misleading information. The correct position on the requirements for obtaining Short money and the basis on which it is allocated was available in the public domain.

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However, it had only made the offer of correction at a late stage in the complaints process, more than a month after being notified of the complaint, and only after IPSO had notified both parties that the matter would be passed to the Committee for a ruling. Given the nature of the misleading statements the complaint demonstrated, the newspaper had failed to make the offer sufficiently promptly, and this represented a breach of Clause 1 ii. These concerns did not raise a breach of Clause 1. The complaint was upheld. Remedial Action Required. The newspaper had not offered a correction promptly and therefore had failed to comply with its obligations under Clause 1 ii.

The Committee required the publication of an adjudication. The Committee considered the placement. It was significantly misleading, formed the principal basis for the personal criticism of Mr Corbyn set out in the article, and resulted from a significant failure to take care not publish misleading information, given that the factors that formally affect the allocation of Short money were known to the newspaper.

For these reasons, the Committee required that a reference to the adjudication be published on the front page, directing readers to the full adjudication, which should appear on page four or further forward. Both the headline to the adjudication inside the paper and the front-page reference should make clear that IPSO has upheld the complaint, and refer to its subject matter. The headline, the placement on the page, and prominence, including font size, of both the adjudication and the front page reference must be agreed in advance.

Should the newspaper intend to continue to publish the article in its current form, the adjudication should also be published in full beneath the headline. The terms of the adjudication to be published are as follows:. The complaint was upheld, and IPSO required the newspaper to publish this adjudication.

Moreover, the government made absolutely no reference to the museum's theatre or even the acclaimed library collection: anything not taken over by third parties was to face destruction. On this occasion, the party's view was that the Tropenmuseum merely made its visitors feel guilty by spreading "Western self-hatred". You need to be able to distance yourself. We want to achieve a major reorganisation of the cultural sector, a culture shift within culture, and that calls for an ability to look at things from an impartial perspective.

The advice of the Cultural Council Raad van Cultuur , the official government advisory body on art, culture and media, to postpone the introduction of the change to give institutions slightly more opportunity to find alternative ways of operating despite the severe cutbacks was dismissed out of hand by Zijlstra.

It seemed the cultural slash-and-burn that the Cultural Council was warning about, was not actually a risk, but had in fact been the government's very intention. From an ideological perspective, the selective approach adopted in terms of which cultural heritage is worthy of support and which isn't, would appear to exemplify the ideas of the PVV.

This radical political party is selective in its view of culture: it presents the ethnic Dutch population, whose "authentic roots" must be protected at all costs, as a minority threatened by immigrants. Donner argued that cultural diversity "had primarily led to division and at best to well-meaning mutual disregard" 8.

In view of this consensus between Rutte's first government and the PVV that held it in power, Zijlstra' minimalist explanation for cultural cutbacks that "the new basic infrastructure will no longer have room for development institutions in the field of cultural diversity" was all that was needed to pull the plug on institutions focusing on exactly that — such as the ethnographic museums 9. From a practical perspective however, it would appear that it was the VVD's focus on economic profitability that informed its selective cultural policy.

In , Rotterdam's ethnographic Wereldmuseum was on the verge of bankruptcy as a result of major building renovations and rapidly falling visitor numbers.

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Even before the economic crisis began to become a factor, the then Mayor of Rotterdam, Ivo Opstelten VVD , decided to turn the tide by appointing cultural entrepreneur Stanley Bremer. He was given free rein to develop an entrepreneurial policy with a view to making the museum successful again, but more importantly independent of subsidy. Alongside some serious commercial measures including the introduction of a Michelin star restaurant and the hiring out of the museum's auditoria, it was not long before the entire team of curators was dismissed in the wake of the falling revenues and by , as earnings continued to suffer, the radical museum director came up with the idea of selling off part of the collection.

Although it clearly breached every museum's ethical code, this controversial move was only prevented by the municipal council after heated discussions in the media Despite extreme attempts to commercialise it, the Wereldmuseum is virtually bankrupt and has seriously undermined its role as a museum in numerous ways. Yet, in spite of repeated signs of wrongdoing, the council the owner of the collection has washed its hands of the matter.

Unlike the Wereldmuseum, the National Maritime Museum appeared to have been successful in striking a balance between education and entertainment and thereby becoming less dependent on subsidies. This museum also made quite a radical commitment to cultural entrepreneurship. The museum building's recently-covered inner courtyard was hired out as a means to fund the museum and its presentation transformed from dusty displays to a multimedia experience.


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Although the Cultural Council expressed concern about the balance between its duties as a museum and its commercial ambitions, it also used the very same document to dismiss any notion of an academic role for the museum. Its research grants — which had until then actually enabled that balance to be achieved — were discontinued by the Ministry. This was followed by a reduction in the government's general museum contribution. Despite having previously received praise, the museum management responded to a serious budget deficit by attempting to dismiss eleven members of staff, including a curator and the senior curator of the academic programme.

Although this dismissal attempt was prevented at the last moment, the situation is evidence of a lack of political interest in the museum's programme that was attempting to portray both the glory of overseas trade and the inherent downside of the slave trade. By giving an academic role to only a small selection of institutions, the government is undermining the role that museums must play in education.

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The VVD in particular would appear to see the cultural sector primarily as a leisure industry, whose very survival is measured by the number of visitors it attracts. This means that the principle of museums' financial independence and economic profit is taking precedence over historical value and importance. In other words, culture needs to be able to earn something for the Netherlands. Internationally, Halbe Zijlstra's new cultural policy was primarily based on using art and culture for foreign relations, literally insisting that it contributes to a positive image of the Netherlands by emphasising links between culture, trade and the economy.

The government prefers to showcase national culture by means of such historic figures as Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh and even Anne Frank. These are the standard-bearers for museums that have unfailingly been attracting floods of tourists for many years. The aim of cultural tourism and the marketing of a Dutch identity is not only to target other countries, but also to generate a collective sense of an authentic cultural identity within the country itself. The subsidies awarded for national commemorations provide further evidence of an intent to create a selective view of the country's history: the memory of the victims of the Second World War is kept alive by some 4.

It simply seems that there is no room for the colonial past in Dutch public discourse. However, until very recently, the world of politics was clearly interested in the country's past and the importance of its citizens' historical understanding.

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In Britain, Lord Kenneth Baker launched a similar initiative in for the establishment of a museum of 'Britishness', that should not only focus on the narrative of British history, but above all be a paean to British standards and values Historians and museum professionals in both the Netherlands and Britain were critical of the idea of an historical canon approach, as well as the risk of the museum being used for propaganda purposes, since the project was the brainchild of politicians.

Whereas the British initiative ultimately came to nothing, in the Netherlands, a management board was appointed and a suitable location sought. However, this ambitious project fell victim to the harsh cutbacks introduced by State Secretary Halbe Zijlstra in , who felt unable to justify a new museum in the wake of cutbacks at existing museums that were, after all, already developing initiatives to showcase Dutch history.

Rather than suggesting an opportunity for society to engage in some self-reflection, the desire to define a national identity would therefore seem to be rooted in nostalgia. The Rijksmuseum was opposed to the establishment of the NHM, as it felt that it itself could, after reopening, again fulfil the role of a national historical museum by means of a mixed collection of art and historical artefacts that would offer a chronological narrative of Dutch history However, this turned out to be heavily based on the more glorious aspects of the country's history.

The merger of the Tropenmuseum with the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde and the Africa Museum demanded by the government might have been devised as a counterbalance to place a clearer focus on the Dutch colonial past and historical relations with the 'Other' alongside the Rijksmuseum. Whilst Belgium has just spent 75 million euro on a thorough renovation of its colonial Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, in order, according to its director Guido Gryseels, "to reconcile itself with the past" 17 , no similar ideas would appear to motivate the world of Dutch politics: the sole priority was to combine these ethnographic institutions in an attempt to cut spending.

On top of suggesting a strong focus on economic profitability, this would appear to be a sign of a collective failure to acknowledge the political deeds of the Dutch past. Whereas Germany has this year officially acknowledged as genocide the massacre that took place in its former colony of Namibia between and 18 , the Netherlands continues to describe the violence it applied during what is known as the Police Actions in the Netherlands East Indies modern Indonesia merely as "excesses" By the same token, the Netherlands has never issued an official apology for the slavery in its history.

A recently-published advisory report by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed concern about whether Dutch society's poor understanding of its history with slavery and its colonial past could actually be encouraging the stigmatisation of certain minorities. Several of the UN committee's recommendations explicitly target what it considers to be the Dutch government's overly relaxed attitude with regard to its anti-discrimination policy Nevertheless, the way that the Netherlands deals with its colonial past does not differ radically from that of other European former colonial powers.

In Britain, the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol met its demise after being unable to attract sufficient visitors despite various successful exhibitions, publications and awards. The museum was devoted to the history of British imperialism and the effects of British colonial rule. Unlike many national museums in Britain, the museum was not publicly funded, but operated as a charity. In late , the museum announced plans to relocate to London.

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