An anti-Russian, pro-Ukrainian poster created by the youth wing of the Netherlands’ Labour movement has been banned from Dutch railway stations because it is considered excessively offensive.
Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the Dutch national railways company, said in a statement the unusual poster violated their requirement with their advertising partner ExterionMedia that items not be “offensive or objectionable”, nor “upsetting or offensive”, reports DutchNews. The railway company added they had not taken the decision on this poster themselves, as such calls are delegated to ExterionMedia who make judgement calls based on those requirements.
NS said in their statement that because railway stations are “public space”, they believe “everyone should feel comfortable”, and so a poster showing two European nationalists was not appropriate.
The poster shows a mock-up of Dutch anti-Islamism campaigner Geert Wilders locked in an embrace with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The political poster is part of the build-up to April 6th’s referendum in the Netherlands on the European treaty with Ukraine, and the metaphor is a clear suggestion that voting against the motion is a vote for Putin, and consequently Dutch right-winger Wilders.
Far from accepting the decision was taken on grounds of taste, a spokesman for the Netherlands Youth Labour movement stated the move was censorship motivated by fear of Russian power. Bart van Bruggen said: “This poster shows opponents of the treaty that they are lining up with Wilders and Putin.
“It would appear that the NS is more afraid of the KGB than the loss of freedom of speech”.
— JS in de PvdA (@jspvda) March 18, 2016
Geert Wilders is presently in court in the Netherlands on a hate speech charge which he has dismissed as “politically motivated”. As reported by Breitbart London last week, there are concerns over irregularities in the case against Mr. Wilders, with many of the complainants interviewed by the defence team found to be elderly, illiterate migrants duped into signing legal documents.
The trial will resume in August.
Follow Oliver Lane on Twitter: Follow @Oliver_Lane or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org