Netherlands | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status


Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The constitution provides for freedom of expression and the press. Although the relevant laws are rarely enforced, journalists face imprisonment for insults against the monarch and royal family. Newspaper ownership is concentrated; nevertheless, the print media maintain a plurality of viewpoints. A 1988 broadcast law eliminated the ban on commercial broadcasting. Dutch viewers have access to a wide range of domestic and foreign channels. In a remnant of the traditional "pillar system," the state allocates public radio and television programming to political, religious, and social groups according to their membership size. Internet access is open and unrestricted.