Safety of journalists most important theme of 2022 Press Freedom Index
On 3 May, World Press Freedom Day was held and the Dutch 2022 'Persvrijheidsmonitor' was presented. The safety of journalists in 2022 was the most important theme in the area of press freedom in the Netherlands. Tarlach McGonagle, Professor of Medial Law & Information Society in Leiden, and Otto Volgenant, a lawyer at law firm at Boekx are the authors.
Press freedom in the Netherlands under pressure
The aim of the Persvrijheidsmonitor is to provide an up-to-date overview of developments in press freedom in the Netherlands. The Persvrijheidsmonitor database is constantly being supplemented with new concrete incidents. The Persvrijheidsmonitor is commissioned annually by the Persvrijheidsfonds.
Press freedom in the Netherlands has been under pressure in recent years. In 2022, the Netherlands plunged from sixth to 28th place on the international World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders. This massive drop was partly due to the murder of Dutch investigative reporter Peter R De Vries in July 2021. In the 2022 Index, the Netherlands has regained its position and finished sixth. This is partly due to the prosecution of the suspects in the De Vries case, assistance by PersVeilig to threatened journalists, and the decrease in violence against journalists in 2022 after the very violent coronavirus year.
Intimidation and aggression
The European Commission finds that the individual safety of journalists in the Netherlands remains a concern despite government efforts. The report, published in 2022, highlights the intimidation and aggression that not only journalists face, but anyone who contributes to the public debate through the media. It is no longer exceptional for journalists to be harassed, for example, at protests by farmers or Sinterklaas processions.
The Netherlands in itself remains a safe haven for journalists, but intimidation and aggression is on the rise and freelancers and female journalists in particular face specific threats. In addition, threats from organised crime need a specific approach.