King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands has expressed concern about the increasing amount of violence and aggression toward journalists. He made the remarks while visiting Dutch paper Brabants Dagblad on Tuesday.
The King said that he was not sure what needed to be done: “I’m not an expert. I like to leave that to the experts.”
The photographers for the magazine shared their experiences and how journalism has become dangerous. They were hit with fireworks and stones by rioters while trying to cover a story earlier this year. One journalist said that people have come to his house and called it “threatening.”
Editor-in-Chief at the paper, Lucas van Houtert, told the King: “You don’t have to identify yourself as a press. But nowadays they also visit you at home. It’s very threatening.”
King Willem-Alexander asked what could be done to make things safer for journalists, but there is no clear answer. He was told: “It is becoming increasingly difficult to estimate what the risks are.”
The King’s visit to Brabants Dagblad came a week after the attempted assassination of Dutch journalist Peter R. de Vries in Amsterdam. That same week, RTL Boulevard could not broadcast for two days due to a serious threat issued against the station.
Mr De Vries was exiting a television studio after being a guest on the live show RTL Boulevard to talk about the case of a hairdresser who was murdered in 2019. The journalist was hit by five shots fired at close range, one of which hit him in the head. He is currently fighting for his life in an unnamed hospital.
At the time of the attempted assassination, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima were on a state visit to Germany.
They commented on the shooting during their trip. Their Majesties said they were “deeply shocked” by the attack and that “journalists must be free to carry out their important work without threats.”