European Federation of Journalists

Dutch journalists sign agreement to improve safety of journalists

The Journalists’ Association of the Netherlands (NVJ) has signed an important agreement to improve the safety of journalists. The Agreement of the Steering Group on Aggression and violence against journalists, was negotiated by the NVJ with he Dutch Minister of justice, the GP-office and the National Police.

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) congratulated its affiliate NVJ for achieving this important agreement. The EFJ says, “The agreement is the first of its kind as it signifies the cooperation between the public authorities, journalists and the media with the aim to protect the safety of journalists. ”

“Journalists are facing increasing attacks in recent years. We need more of this kind of cooperation and commitment from the public authorities and states to protect journalists, ” added the EFJ.

This Agreement come after an increasing number of threats towards journalists in the Netherlands, including  several attacks targeting renowned crime reporters and the recent incidents at the editorial offices of De Telegraaf and Panorama. The Steering Group set up within the framework of the Agreement developed some key measures to protect the safety of journalists. They include:

  • Increasing awareness among journalists through safety plan that will include a practical approach in the areas of prevention and training, but also clear procedures about which measures must be taken after an event, including the reporting of an incident or of a crime, and the aftercare. Freelancers must be included in these plans, but the NVJ will also act separately as a contact point/coordinator for freelancers.
  • A collective norm setting out which types of aggressive behaviour are considered unacceptable and always lead to action by the employer/journalists. In such cases, the journalist concerned will report the incident to the employer/NVJ and, if appropriate, a criminal complaint will be made.
  • A violence against the media (VAM) application will be developed as a practical tool or extension of the safety plan.
  • Public support and training programmes to teach to journalists how to defend themselves against different forms of aggression and intimidation
  • Several agreements and cooperation were made with the police and the public prosecution service to give high priority to cases concerning violence against journalists.

Photo Credit: Federico Parra / AFP