Growing challenges

Freedom of the media and the protection of journalists are considered a cornerstone of democracy in the Netherlands. In the past year, however, journalists have faced growing

challenges. After violent disruptions of public debates on refugees, journalists were on several occasions throughout the year banned, on security grounds, from visiting such debates or making video or audio tapes of them.

Controversy about the role of a black-faced children’s character Black Pete led to death threats towards journalists, columnists, and television personalities.

As public opinion regarding issues of immigration, race, and “national character” has polarized, attacks on the media have increased. Fear of terrorism and organized crime has led to controversial legislation.

Changes to the Dutch law Wiv (Intelligence and Security Services Act) now give government intelligence and security services increased powers in the decryption of secured communications networks and the tapping of phones and internet communication systems. This could undermine the protection of journalists’ sources. Parliament adopted the changes by a large majority on February 14th, 2017. Legal protection of press freedom in the Netherlands nevertheless remains relatively robust.

in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index



2 in 2016

Global score


8.76 in 2016

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2018
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2018
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2018
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