Wilders has every right to withdraw from debates: Dutch editors assoc.

Geert Wilders
PVV founder Geert Wilders, as seen in 2006 (ANS-Online/Flickr)PVV founder Geert Wilders, as seen in 2006 (ANS-Online/Flickr)

While it is annoying for the media and the political and social debate, politicians like Geert Wilders have every right to withdraw from debates or refuse to be interviewed, Marcel Gelauff, chairman of the Dutch society of Chief Editors, said to the Telegraaf. This follows PVV leader Geert Wilders withdrawing from two election debates and refusing to meet with editors to discuss how he and journalists can get along.

"He can and must decide for himself who he wants to talk to and who not", Galauff said to the newspaper. "In September last year there was an informal conversation between the PVV leader and several of our members. There too it was crystal clear: Wilders makes his own choices. It is his right."

On Sunday Wilders announced that he will not be taking part in RTL's Carré debate, scheduled for March 5th. Last week he announced that he is withdrawing from the broadcaster's Premiere debate, scheduled for this coming Sunday.

On Monday Sjors Frohlich, editor of BNR who is arranging the Carré debate with RTL, invited Wilders for a cup of coffee to discuss "with or without a microphone" how he and journalists can better deal with each other. Wilders refused, according to the Telegraaf. 

According to Gelauff, it often happens that politicians refuse to talk to the media. "It's something of all times, even though things are put more sharply by him." 

Gelauff stressed that the Society is not taking a stand on Wilders' refusal of their invitation, but did call it a pity that Wilders will not be participating in the two election debates on radio and television.