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Netherlands: International media freedom mission on the safety of…

Netherlands: International media freedom mission on the safety of Dutch journalists

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 media freedom mission to the Netherlands. With the mission the consortium members 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 there is a strong security mechanism for journalists. 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. That is why we are organizing 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 organized crime, as well as increasing hostility to the members of press and media outlets 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%. 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.

MFRR Missions

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 organized to Greece, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Slovenia.

This statement was coordinated by the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries.

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MFRR to hold press freedom mission to Greece

MFRR to hold press freedom mission to Greece

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) will hold an online fact-finding mission to Greece in the first half of December to assess increasing concerns about media freedom and the safety of journalists in the country.

The online mission will be led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and implemented together with its partners in the MFRR and representatives from other international press freedom groups. The delegation will meet with a range of domestic stakeholders, including journalists and editors, journalists’ unions and associations, civil society and academics, and representatives of government and state institutions.

The aim of the mission is to better understand key developments and help develop solutions to the challenges media actors face. It will follow up on a host of recent concerns. These include primarily: the murder of veteran crime reporter Giorgos Karaivaz and the limited progress of the investigation into the crime; numerous attacks on journalists; interferences faced by reporters specialising in migration, including surveillance by state authorities; the impact of the recent changes to the criminal code regarding so-called “fake news”; and, problems with weak media pluralism.

A mission report with findings and recommendations will be published following the online fact-finding mission. Depending on travel restrictions and sanitary measures, an in-person advocacy mission is expected to follow in the first quarter of 2022.

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 Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Slovenia.