Netherlands fell 22 spots on press freedom ranking
This year, the Netherlands fell 22 places in the press freedom ranking compiled by Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF). According to RSF, aggression against journalists is increasing in our country, despite the relatively favorable conditions for press freedom.
The Netherlands fell from 6th to 28th place on the annual index. According to Free Press Unlimited, this is unprecedented in the history of the world ranking on press freedom. "The Netherlands has been in the top 10 since 2002."
The organization refers to several incidents in the past years which showed aggression against journalists. In Gelderland, for example, a press photographer with his car was pushed into a ditch. A Groningen journalist was firebombed through his letterbox. And crime journalist Peter R. de Vries was assassinated in Amsterdam. NOS removed its logos from vans to protect employees. And last year, the police arrested three journalists during demonstrations in two days.
Three weeks ago, an international report led by Free Press Unlimited already said that the safety of journalists in the Netherlands is decreasing. Female journalists feel less safe than their male colleagues, and journalists who write about organized crime are exposed to risks. Last year, the Dutch PersVeilig received 272 reports of journalists who faced harassment, intimidation, or violence. In 2020, the counter stood at 121 reports.
The Netherlands should put the recommendations made in the report in motion as soon as possible, said Free Press Unlimited director Ruth Kronenburg. "The Netherlands has always been a forerunner and champion of press freedom worldwide. To maintain this position, press freedom and the safety of journalists must be high on the agenda."
Norway, Denmark, and Sweden led the press freedom index this year. At the bottom of the list are Iran and Eritrea, and North Korea took the last spot in 180th place.
Reporting by ANP.