Threatened journalists need better police protection: Dutch MPs
A parliamentary majority agreed Tuesday evening that journalists in the Netherlands who receive serious threats should get access to the same level of assistance from the police department as threatened politicians. The Members of Parliament approved a motion during a debate in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house, that a specialized unit within the police should be tasked with ensuring the safety of journalism professionals.
A similar unit is based in The Hague to investigate cases where professional politicians come under threat, but no such centralized unit exists for those working in media. The motion, submitted by VVD MP Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, said that journalists are “increasingly faced with serious, freedom-restricting threats.”
She also submitted a second motion which was approved by MPs which calls on the Dutch government to investigate how freelance journalists might also be able to be supported when they are threatened, considering their clients may not be in a position to provide financial support or protection. Her motion wanted the government to conclude an investigation on this issue by early February.
Both motions were up for discussion as part of the debate on the Ministry of Justice and Security’s official budget for 2021. Minister Ferd Grapperhaus previously said more should be done to protect the journalism field and its workers, and that the police should respond with more urgency to such cases.