ARTICLE 19 will join Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) partners on an international media freedom mission to the Netherlands organised by Free Press Unlimited and the European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF). With the mission we aim 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, there is a strong security mechanism for journalists in place. The mission will be held 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 and media freedom in the Netherlands is receiving more and more international attention. For this reason we are organising 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 will 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 towards members of the press and media outlets from protesters and civilians. According to the NVJ, 82% of Dutch journalists experienced aggression or intimidation in 2020. This is an increase of 20% compared with 2017. In 2017, 79% believed that threats to journalists pose a threat to press freedom. In 2021 this increased to 93%. The increasing trends raise 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.
The MFRR monitors violations of press and media freedom in the EU Member States and Candidate Countries and responds with practical and legal support and advocacy. Since the project’s start in March 2020, a number of similar missions have been organised to Greece, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Slovenia.