The Netherlands falls to its lowest ever position on the World Press Freedom Index
The World Press Freedom Index is published by Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF). This ranking is unprecedented in the history of the Index - the Netherlands has always been in the top 10 since the Index was created in 2002.
As Free Press Unlimted (FPU) states, despite the relatively favorable conditions for press freedom in the Netherlands, aggression against journalists undoubtedly increased in 2021. And this is reflected in the Index: because this year the Netherlands fell from 6th to 28th place.
Looking back to the year 2021: the Public Broadcaster NOS removed its logos from vans to protect its employees, and crime journalist Peter R. de Vries was murdered in broad daylight. In the province Gelderland, a press photographer was pushed into a ditch with his car by an excavator, while investigative journalist Willem Groeneveld received a firebomb through his letterbox. Furthermore, three journalists were arrested during demonstrations in two days.
According to FPU, the question arises whether the ‘Dutch approach’ is sufficiently resistant to the growing aggression against journalists and the threat from organized crime. “Recommendations of the report should be put in motion as soon as possible,” stated Ruth Kronenburg, Director of Free Press Unlimited. “The Netherlands has always been a frontrunner and champion of press freedom worldwide. To maintain this position, it is crucial that freedom of the press and the safety of journalists remains high on the agenda."