The attack, in which the van caught fire after smashing through the building’s glass facade, caused considerable damage but no injuries. A tabloid with more than 350,000 subscribers, De Telegraaf is the biggest daily in the Netherlands. The police described the attack as deliberate and said they were looking for the driver, who got away.
Todays’ attack comes five days after an anti-tank missile was fired at the Amsterdam building that houses two magazines, Panorama and Nieuwe Revu, on the night of 21 June, but the authorities have not as yet linked the two cases. A suspect has been arrested in connection with last week’s attack.
Both De Telegraaf and Panorama provide a great deal of coverage of organized crime. Two Dutch crime reporters were given round-the-clock police protection last year. One of them, John Van de Heuvel, works for De Telegraaf.
“We condemn all violence designed to intimidate journalists and media outlets whose reporting annoys people,” said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s EU-Balkans desk. “We call on the Dutch authorities to investigate these attacks thoroughly with the aim of bringing those responsible to justice, and to provide appropriate protection to journalists who put themselves in danger by doing investigative reporting.”
Questioned by the daily Volkskrant two months ago, Van den Heuvel said the methods used by criminal groups to silence their “enemies” – both journalists and others – had become much more violent.
Although ranked 3rd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index, the Netherlands has not escaped the general downward trend in Europe in respect for press freedom.