28 Jul 2020 Lvl. 2
Alert created on: 15 Oct 2019 n° 125/2019 Netherlands
The Dutch Travel Restriction Law Threatens Media Freedom
The Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus proposed a new law under which Dutch citizens travelling to an area “controlled by terrorist groups” must request permission from the justice ministry. The bill was approved by the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament on 10 September 2019. Under this draft law, failing to request the justice ministry’s permission before travelling to an area “controlled by terrorist groups” is punishable by up to two years in prison. The Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ) called on the Dutch Senate to make an exception for journalists or to withdraw the bill, considering that this new regulation threatens the freedom to inform. On November 12, the Senate will organise a hearing where experts, including a representative of NVJ, will draw attention to the law’s problems. Among other points, NVJ pointed out the law’s use of the term “terrorist zone,” a vague concept that is hard to pin down.
25 Nov 2019
On 7 November 2019, the NVJ sent the Senate a critical opinion on the draft bill, in view of a public hearing before the Senate’s Justice and Security Commission scheduled for 12 November 2019.
04 Nov 2019
On 10 September 2019, the Minister of Justice and Security sent the Senate a critical statement on amendment No. 8, which allows for journalists to be generally except from travel restrictions on some conditions.
- EFJ statement: "The Netherlands: the travel restriction law threatens media freedom"
- NVJ statement: "Deskundigenbijeenkomst uitreisbeperking journalisten naar terreurgebieden"
- Open letter in daily newspaper "de Volkskrant": "Journalisten in conflictgebieden verdienen bescherming, niet een maatregel die ze extra in gevaar brengt"
- NVJ statement: "De NVJ pleit bij Eerste Kamer voor uitzonderingspositie journalisten Wet Strafbaarstelling verblijf in terroristische gebieden"
- NRC news report: "Reportage in terreurgebied? Eerst toestemming vragen bij Justitie"
28 Jul 2020
Reply from the Netherlands authorities