Dutch Public Broadcasters Launches Arabic Channel For ‘Refugees’

The Netherlands has launched an entertainment and information channel in Arabic, for new migrants who have not learnt the language of their host nation.

The ‘Net in Nederland‘ (New To The Netherlands) service will be launched online by Dutch pubic broadcaster NPO. The public television service is funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and costs each Dutch citizen €116 a year.

The broadcaster’s spokesman said they had chosen an online platform because most migrants have smartphones and tablets.

“New to the Netherlands has been designed to help newcomers in our country including refugees and immigrants find their way in our society with a supply of on-demand media”, reads the website.

Adding: “New to the Netherlands not only translates the programs into English and Arabic. The platform also points out initiatives which can be helpful for newcomers in the Netherlands”.

The lead program today, advertised as “one to watch”, is called “Love from… Late”. Its synopsis reads: “Anne-Marijn (28) from Noord-Holland and her friend went on holiday to Sri Lanka. At the hotel she met Thusitha (26), the Food & Beverage manager. For Anne-Marijn it was love at first sight.”

The migrant service cost €400,000 to launch, and will cost a further €300,000 a year to run. However, NPO has insisted the broadcasters themselves will finance it, not the taxpayer.

“We don’t have much money…and we have to check a lot of things again”, Net in Nederland spokesman Bernadette Slotboom told Dutch News.

Adding: “We are planning on touring the country to present Net in Nederland to language schools around the country, and connect with them and adjust [our translations].”

She also explained that: “We chose the programmes based on the subjects covered in the Inburgering (Integration) exam.

“We also have a feedback group of refugees who are journalists, writers, poets and film-makers who have been here for between three and 20 years. They loved the initiative and helped us make our selection”.


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