International mission on the safety of Dutch journalists

Journalists standing with their backs to the camera as they are trying to document the commemoration ceremony of late Peter R. de Vries

As part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), Free Press Unlimited and the European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) are organising an international mission to the Netherlands. With the mission we want to map the decreasing security of journalists in the Netherlands. We want to contrast this with the fact that with the establishment of PersVeilig (Press Safe) at the end of 2019 we have a strong security mechanism for journalists. The mission will take place at the beginning of 2022.

With attacks on journalists increasing, the public broadcaster NOS removing its logos from vans to protect its employees, and Peter R. de Vries being murdered in broad daylight, the state of press freedom in the Netherlands is receiving more and more international attention. That is why we are organising, under the MFRR project, an international mission on the safety of journalists in the Netherlands in close consultation with the Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ). As part of the mission, we enter into discussions with journalists and editors-in-chief, policymakers, the police and the Public Prosecution Service, experts, and Members of Parliament. The end result will be a comprehensive report on the safety of journalists in the Netherlands that will be presented in an international press conference as the conclusion of the mission.

Safety of journalists in the Netherlands

The mission will address the issue of the safety of journalists in the Netherlands, focusing on the threats posed by organised crime, as well as increasing hostility to the press by protesters and civilians. According to the NVJ, 82% of Dutch journalists have experienced aggression or intimidation in 2020. This is an increase of 20% compared to 2017. In 2017, 79% believed that threats to journalists pose a threat to press freedom. In 2021 this has increased to 93%. This raises questions when it comes to the high ranking of the Netherlands on the Press Freedom Index and the internationally acclaimed PersVeilig (Press Safe) mechanism. In addition, the mission will examine what prevention mechanisms currently exist, and what the Dutch authorities can do to prevent intimidation and violence against journalists.

Media Freedom Rapid Response

The MFRR is a coalition of seven press freedom organisations based in Europe. The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and candidate countries. This project provides legal and practical support, public advocacy and information to protect journalists and media workers. The project started in 2020 and is funded by the European Commission.


Photo in header: ANP / Hollandse Hoogte / GinoPress

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