ANP / Hollandse Hoogte / GinoPress
Towards a safer haven: Advancing safety of journalists amidst rising threats in the Netherlands

ECPMF

13 April 2022

No Comments

Today, the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) publishes “Towards a safer haven: Advancing safety of journalists amidst rising threats in the Netherlands”. Following interviews with more than twenty local stakeholders, the MFRR concludes that policy and practice around the safety of journalists in the Netherlands in many ways constitutes a best practice example, thanks to its pioneering PersVeilig mechanism. Nevertheless, there remains a need to strengthen several areas to better protect journalists and media workers against the increasingly hostile climate pursuant to intensified societal polarisation and threats emanating from organised crime.

 

The report details the findings and recommendations of the MFRR’s online fact-finding mission that took place in February 2022, led by Free Press Unlimited (FPU) together with the European Centre of Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and the International Press Institute (IPI), with the participation of the other MFRR partners plus the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders, and in collaboration with the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Journalisten (NVJ).

The Netherlands generally remains a safe haven for journalists and media workers. The pioneering PersVeilig mechanism is a key actor in ensuring and advancing journalists’ safety and is a noteworthy example of constructive cooperation and dialogue between the journalistic community and state authorities. Both symbolically and practically, PersVeilig makes it clear that attacks and harassment of reporters are not tolerated and are addressed collectively.

 

While the assessment of PersVeilig is overwhelmingly positive, both among the MFRR’s partner organisations and its interlocutors during the fact-finding mission, room for improvement remains in a number of areas. These include implementing agreed-upon protocols more consistently and ensuring the project’s capacity and continuity.

 

Despite the relatively favourable conditions for press freedom and a pioneering mechanism, the MFRR mission confirmed that aggression against journalists is on the rise amidst a hardening of public debate and increasing polarisation in society. Subsequently, and despite the high willingness to cooperate between the journalistic community and law enforcement, the need remains to ensure a better understanding of the role of the press during protests, as well as changes to operational procedures to protect this role. 

 

Certain categories of journalists suffer specific threats, particularly freelance reporters and women journalists. In this regard, it became clear throughout the mission that the Dutch approach to the safety of journalists lacks a gender lens. Moreover, while the Dutch policy approach scores well when it comes to putting in place mechanisms to protect journalists and prosecute offenders, there is room for improvement as concerns prevention.

 

Furthermore, with regard to threats from organised crime, there is a need to study the creation of tailored protection packages and consider improvements to the protection of journalists who cover high-profile criminal trials.

 

In light of its findings and to ensure that the Netherlands maintains its leadership position when it comes to the safety of journalists, the MFRR issued more than twenty specific recommendations to the authorities of the Netherlands, law enforcement, the journalistic community, PersVeilig and social media platforms.

 

Press contact:

This mission was coordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR). MFRR tracks, monitors and reacts 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 MFRR is organised by an alliance led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) including ARTICLE 19, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), the Institute for Applied Informatics at the University of Leipzig (InfAI), International Press Institute (IPI) and CCI/Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT). The project commenced in 2020 and is funded by the European Commission.

Read news by categories:

Related news

Statement

Kosovo: Joint letter to the Prime Minister Albin Kurti on RTK appointment

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and the Safe Journalists Network condemn the shocking physical attack on Albanian journalist Elvis Hila and his wife.

READ MORE
Statement

Albania: MFRR and Safe Journalist Network condemn attack on journalist Elvis Hila and his wife

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and the Safe Journalists Network condemn the shocking physical attack on Albanian journalist Elvis Hila and his wife.

READ MORE
Feature

MFRR Summit 2023: Press Freedom on the Line

The MFRR Summit is back, and this year we’re holding our conference under the title of “Press Freedom on the Line” from 29 – 31 March 2023.

READ MORE
ECPMF

Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media – Call for Nominations

Every year, the Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig awards its “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media”, which is endowed with €20,000, to a distinguished journalist, publisher, or media institution.

READ MORE
Press release

Feindbild Journalist – Monitoring Lokaljournalismus

Together with the German Federal Association of Digital Publishers and Newspaper Publishers (BDZV), ECPMF has launched a new project to monitor attacks on local journalists titled “Feindbild Journalist – Monitoring Lokaljournalismus”.

READ MORE
Press release

IJ4EU fund opens new calls for cross-border investigative journalism

The Investigative Journalism for Europe (IJ4EU) fund today, January 12, opened two new calls for cross-border investigative journalism projects in the European Union and EU candidate countries.

READ MORE