“Sad year for journalism” NVJ general secretary says after attack on Groningen reporter
The attack on journalist, Willem Groeneveld, in Groningen on Thursday was “again a violate against Dutch journalism”, general secretary of the Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ), Thomas Bruning said, according to RTL Nieuws.
A Molotov cocktail was thrown in Groeneveld’s window early Thursday morning, causing a fire to break out. Groeneveld and his wife were able to extinguish the fire.
It was not the first time someone had tried to intimidate Groeneveld. In 2019, stones were thrown his window. Earlier this year a real estate entrepreneur, placed 30 bikes in front of the journalist’s home because Groeneveld claimed in an article that the entrepreneur removed bikes that had been correctly parked in public areas.
“Willem already has been dealing with intimidations and threats for a while and they are only getting worse. Where will this end?”, director of NDC media group and Groeneveld’s employer, Evert van Dijk, asked during an interview with NPO Radio 1.
The attack on Groeneveld came slightly more than one month after crime reporter Peter R. de Vries was shot in the head on a street in Amsterdam. De Vries ultimately succumbed to his injuries after fighting for his life for more than a week.
“After the murder of De Vries this is the second attack on a Dutch journalist in a short period of time”, Bruning said. “This is a very sad year for journalism. This attack on Willem with a firebomb could have ended very differently.”
Political parties have inquired in the past about what is being done to protect press freedom. A police spokesperson assured RTL Nieuws they take these types of situations very seriously.
“This new attack has shown that what we are doing now is not enough. I hope that The Hague is also aware of this”, Bruning said.
Minister of Justice Ferdinand Grapperhaus said he was shocked by the incident. “It needs to be clear that we are a free state where journalists are able to do their work. That has to be the norm we all live by. We all need journalism.”