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Denmark: Proposal to Ban Arabic-Language News Channels

(Nov. 5, 2010) The leader of the Danish People's Party (DF), Pia Kjærsgaard, has recently proposed banning access to two Arabic-language news channels, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. The DF, the third largest political party in the country, is one of the parties relied on by the current government for support. The ban would be part of a “value struggle” against Islam; Kjærsgaard sees Islam as a threat to democracy. (Anna Ringstrom, Danish Party Calls for Ban on Arab TV Channels, THE STAR ONLINE (Oct. 31, 2010),

The ban would include satellite dishes in public housing areas, where there are many Arabic-speaking immigrants. While Kjærsgaard has called the two channels “anti-western” in nature, the Danish Conservative Party has opposed the suggestion to institute a ban. Conservative Member of Parliament Naser Khader stated, “I thought it was an April Fool's joke.” He added that the DF party must not understand the Arabic media if it proposes labelling the two channels “hateful Arabic TV-stations.” (Proposal to Ban Arabic Stations Meets Resistance, THE COPENHAGEN POST (Nov. 2, 2010),
.) Rasmus Jarlov, also of the Conservative Party, pointed out that instituting a ban could “nourish the conspiracy theory that Denmark is attempting to repress Arab views.” (Id.)

The DF, after publicly acknowledging that the ban would be hard to implement, is now applying to the Radio and Television Board to restrict the two channels on the grounds that they are, in the party's view, a form of hate speech. Kjærsgaard has also argued that immigrants who listen exclusively to the two Arabic channels have a more difficult time integrating into Danish society. (Id.)

Immigration is considered a hot issue for the 2011 elections in Denmark. The current administration, aligned on the issue with the DF, has enacted tough immigration laws in the last decade. (Ringstrom, supra.)

On October 27, 2010, Denmark's Prime Minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, proposed a plan to promote integration of recent immigrants in identified residential areas. The plan pointed to 29 specific neighborhoods that had a high percentage of immigrant residents from outside of Europe, together with high unemployment and crime rates. These areas, referred to as ghettos in the plan, would be targeted for change, including a reduction of the proportion of immigrants in each of the areas. (Id.)