Issues of national identity at the center of debates

Traditionally the Netherlands has had an excellent record on press freedom. The Dutch media are staunchly independent and legally protected.
Journalists who run into trouble abroad have generally been helped and supported by the foreign ministry. Under a law passed in February 2018, journalists are guaranteed the right to preserve the secrecy of their sources when called as witnesses in a criminal case.
But press freedom violations are increasing. The Netherlands is not immune to the worsening political and social climate throughout Europe. Some political parties question the legitimacy of traditional media. National identity issues, exacerbated by large-scale immigration, arouse strong emotions and sometimes lead to violent threats against journalists.
Polarization of public opinion on immigration, race, and “national character” has led, in the Netherlands as elsewhere, to an increase in attacks on the media.
According to a 2017 report, Een dreigend klimaat (A threatening climate), commissioned by the Dutch Federation of Journalists (NVJ), journalists in the Netherlands face physical and legal threats, as well as vicious abuse and trolling on social media. A controversial Intelligence and Security Services Act (WIV), approved by parliament in 2017, gives the security services increased powers to decrypt secure communications networks and to tap phones and Internet communication systems. Journalists fear that it could undermine protection of the anonymity of their sources.

in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index



5 in 2017

Global score


11.28 in 2017

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2019
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2019
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2019
Go to the barometre