Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:
Journalists demonstrate for release of NOS reporter
At 10:00 a demonstration for the release from jail of NOS [Dutch national TV and radio] journalist Robert Bas starts at the court in Rotterdam. Bas was jailed by a judge yesterday, because he doesn’t want to say anything about a conversation with one of his sources. As a result, he might endanger his source and himself, he says. Bas relies on his journalistic rights.
The demonstration is an initiative of NRC daily journalist Marcel Haenen. The journalists’ union NVJ and journalists from many other media support it.
Haenen said in the NOS Radio 1 Journal that the government on the one hand says that freedom of news gathering and protection of resources is important, but at the same time they are spying on whistleblowers or suspending them.
As a result, sources are taking more and more precautionary measures to avoid difficulties. “That makes the work of the journalists increasingly difficult, certainly for investigative journalists,” says Haenen. “Then you would expect the judiciary to protect journalists and see that it is a democratic achievement that you have a free press. These are Turkish conditions, you should not want that.”
In addition, some journalists have to be protected 24 hours a day because criminal gangs are threatening them. “Then it is completely outrageous that a judge now decides that a journalist should be locked up because he does not want to give up his source. It is an ever-increasing violation of the freedom to gather news.”
Haenen also considers jailing a stupid measure for practical reasons. “It is an illusion to think that a journalist is inclined to talk if you put him behind bars. That will have no effect whatsoever.”