Keep Zwarte Piet, don’t buckle to pressure: Dutch broadcaster

. ()

NTR director Paul Romer is keeping the Zwarte Pieten in Dutch kids show Sinterklaasjournaal black because he does not want to move ahead of public opinion and believes the broadcaster should remain neutral, Televizier reports.

"The law states that we are an independent, neutral broadcaster. Our editorial team does not let itself be influenced by pressure groups and politicians", Romer said according to Televizier, adding that the Sinterklaasjournaal focuses on the "middle group". "Not the loudest shouters. In understand that people hope we point it away, but we are not a moral compass."

This follows Erik van Muiswinkel's announcement that he is resigning as Hoofdpiet (the head Zwarte Piet) in the Sinterklaasjournaal. He is resigning because he is disappointed that NTR is not adapting Zwarte Piet in the popular kids' show.

Romer is sorry to see Van Muiswinkel go, but will not buckle under pressure. "Suppose we only have white Pieten in the program this season", Romer said. "That's not a reflection of what society thinks. The disappointment in the Sinterklaasjournaal last year we especially saw in the Randstad. Beyond that there is much support for Zwarte Piet. We want to reflect what is going on, not run ahead of the troops."