Outdated VRT broadcasts to be accompanied by disclaimer

Flemish public broadcaster VRT has adapted its publication policy in response to the many questions raised this summer at the cancellation of some episodes of its iconic comedy series 'F.C. De Kampioenen'. From now on, broadcasts with outdated, possibly offensive, imagery (racist, sexist, ...) will get a disclaimer to point out to the viewer that they may no longer fit the norms and values of Flemish society today. This way, viewers can decide for themselves what they want to watch or not, the public broadcaster reported on Monday.

Last summer, VRT decided to no longer show certain episodes of its long-running sitcom 'F.C. De Kampioenen', which originally aired from 1990 until 2011. They were labelled "inappropriate" and were also removed from the online streaming platform VRT NU (later rebranded as VRT MAX). These included episodes which made fun of black and/or LGBTQI+ people, and relied heavily on certain stereotypes.

A programme that deviates from today's standards framework is no longer included in the linear broadcast schedule, but can still be found on VRT's streaming platform VRT MAX.

For older programmes in which the language, situations and actions no longer meet today's norms and values, the broadcaster will in the future include a disclaimer instead of proceeding to a publication ban. The VRT will thus continue to warn viewers that content is at odds with the zeitgeist, but will no longer delete the episodes in question from its programming completely. In its own words, VRT finds this policy better suited to its role as a public broadcaster, without having to decide for itself what every Flemish citizen can or cannot still watch.

A programme that deviates from today's standards framework is no longer actively promoted and is not included in the linear broadcast schedule. However, it can still be found on VRT MAX.

The programmes will be accompanied by the following disclaimer (translated from Dutch, ed.): "This programme may contain outdated stereotypes or language. It is offered as it was made at the time and may no longer meet the current standards and values of Flemish society. By pointing this out, we want to contribute to an open debate and an inclusive society."





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