Jort Kelder, presenter of various radio and TV programs at the NPO, confirms that in 2017 he paid one of his editors to make campaign videos for Forum for Democracy. In his own podcast, Kelder says that he has done nothing inappropriate. “This really doesn’t affect my independence in any way. I think that’s such nonsense.”
Forum leader Thierry Baudet revealed last week that he was financially supported by Kelder in the run-up to the 2017 elections. He had just stopped with the program How is it actually? As a result, one of his editors was out of work for a month.
‘Great gift from Jort’
According to Baudet, Kelder offered to pay the editor out of his own pocket, so that he could make a video every day for a month for the Forum campaign. “That was a really big gift from Jort,” said Baudet last week. Fragments of those videos also appeared in the talk shows of the NPO, in the run-up to the elections. Baudet: “That caused publicity.” Forum won two seats in the House of Representatives in 2017.
According to Kelder, it all went a little differently, but it is true that he paid the editor for a month and put him in contact with Baudet. The editor actually wanted to make a career switch and start making reports, says Kelder in his podcast. He would then have advised him to throw himself into political campaigns.
Kelder’s one from Forum seemed the most interesting, because Baudet was new and there was a lot for him to do. “But I have honestly not interfered with it at all,” says the presenter in his podcast. “I’ve never seen those videos at all.” If the editor would have preferred to follow the campaign of GroenLinks or the Party for the Animals, Kelder says it was fine too. “Then I would have called Marianne Thieme.”
‘Kind of witch hunt’
Kelder is now one of the presenters of On 1, in 2017 he regularly appeared as a political interpreter in talk shows of the NPO. In his own words, he always did this objectively, although some now doubt that. Kelder, who still shines his light on matters in The Hague in talk shows, calls this “a kind of witch hunt”. “There is a kind of framing going on in this country that if you know Baudet, you are wrong and are not allowed to work for public broadcasting or something.”
Last month, the objectivity of the public broadcaster came under fire because of the involvement of D66 and Foreign Affairs in a VPRO documentary about Sigrid Kaag. That documentary was broadcast in the run-up to last March’s elections. It turned out afterwards that the makers had modified various passages at the request of Kaag’s campaign team.