Over the past 10 years in the Netherlands, the far-right Freedom Party has moved from the political wilderness to where it is today: leading in the polls with an election coming up next year.

The party's leader, Geert Wilders, has long argued that the Dutch mainstream media cover populist movements with a tone of mockery and cynicism. 

What is happening though is a normalisation of things thought to be unacceptable in the past because they were rude, or even racist. But now, facts aren't that important any more. Opinions are.

Kees Boonman, political commentator, NPO

"You could say that the traditionally left, progressive media, until this point, have only engaged with far-right movements by opposing them, by discarding them, by saying people are bad or stupid for holding such beliefs. This has only been counterproductive, because by repressing this sentiment, you end up radicalising the debate. Yet, for 15 years, politicians and the media have failed to offer an alternative that goes beyond merely denying those sentiments you don't agree with," says Rob Wijnberg, editor, De Correspondent.

Feeling the mainstream media no longer catered to their views, a part of the Dutch audience started looking elsewhere for their media coverage.

Alternative right-wing outlets, such as GeenStijl and PowNed, who call themselves "anarchist", have grown more popular and have now found a platform on Dutch state-funded TV channels, where their anti-Islam and anti-immigration rhetoric can reach larger audiences.

By 2010, GeenStijl had grown into such a significant outlet that it found a second home on the airwaves. PowNed, GeenStijl's broadcast arm, now airs weekly 30-minute newscasts. It's the furthest far-right voice that can be heard on Dutch public channels today.

The Dutch public broadcasting service, the NPO, is unique in that it gives airtime to any broadcaster that can make the case that it serves a distinct segment of the Dutch population.

The Listening Post's Johanna Hoes reports from Amsterdam on the dilemma facing Dutch mainstream journalism, and how the rise of the far-right is forcing a change in the country's media landscape.

Source: Al Jazeera