Tuesday, 21 June 2016 - 12:50
Journalism council: No rules were broken in secret recording of MH17 lecture
RTL Nieuws broke no journalistic rules by secretly recording a lecture by forensic anatomist George Maat on the identification of MH17 victims last year, the Council of Journalism ruled on Monday, ANP reports. The Dutch broadcaster caused quite a stir when reporting that Maat revealed sensitive information, without the knowledge of the victims' relatives, in the lecture. For example, he showed photographs of victims' remains. After the report Maat was fired from the MH17 identification team. This was later found to be unjustified and Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice offered Maat a public apology. The forensic anatomist asked the Council for Journalism to investigate whether RTL Nieuws went to far by secretly recording his lecture. On Monday the council ruled that the information was gathered and transmitted in a "journalistic careful way", according to news wire ANP. The Council describes the broadcaster's behavior as "not unallowable". "It is likely that RTL Nieuws would not have been able to address the wrongdoing without the used method. RTL Nieuws then worked very carefully through further investigation and notifying all parties - including the complainant - beforehand", the council decided.