Journalists need protection more than ever

Although 2020 was in many respects an exceptional year, journalists were on the whole able to work freely, enjoying the respect of much of the population as well as legislative and institutional protection. However, the government still hasn’t improved the media’s access to state-held information, with the result that documents requested by journalists often arrive late and are incomplete. Mass data collection by intelligence agencies repeatedly violated the privacy of journalists, perpetuating the threat to the confidentiality of their sources. Populist politicians attacked the legitimacy of long-established media outlets, especially the state broadcaster NOS, with the aim of portraying the media as sources of “fake news” and enemies of the people. Physical attacks on journalists increased in 2020, although the police have constantly stepped up measures to protect journalists and although past attacks have led to convictions by the courts. Journalists were repeatedly attacked during the coronavirus crisis while covering illegal gatherings and protests against lockdown measures. NOS even removed its logo from its vehicles for fear of encouraging attacks. The hand grenade found outside an investigative reporter’s home was a reminder of the constant presence of organised crime intimidation. Online attacks are common and often target foreign women journalists living in self-imposed exile in the Netherlands. Although the government classified journalists as essential workers so that they could work relatively freely during the lockdown, press freedom was severely restricted in the country’s overseas territories. Sharina Henriquez, an Aruba-based reporter for Caribbean Network, was arbitrarily detained for three hours for violating a curfew.

in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index



5 in 2020

Global score


9.96 in 2020

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2022
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2022
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2022
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