Netherlands | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2005

2005 Scores

Press Status


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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Freedom of speech and of the press is constitutionally guaranteed. Restrictions against insulting the monarch and royal family exist but are rarely enforced. At times, journalists protested against authorities' actions that they claimed hindered press freedom, such as police restricting access when they arrested a local television camera crew for allegedly filming where they were not allowed. In July, a crime reporter's phone was tapped by the prosecution's office. The murder of Theo Van Gogh, an outspoken filmmaker and newspaper columnist, sparked concerns about the status of free speech and the press in the country. Van Gogh was well-known for his strongly critical views toward Muslims and Islam and had recently made a film depicting violence against women in Islamic societies. Dutch police arrested an alleged Muslim fundamentalist with Dutch and Moroccan citizenship. The trial is set to start in 2005. Following the murder, authorities criticized the media for inciting racial intolerance, and Dutch leaders contemplated invoking a seldom-used law banning blasphemy. The country's media are free and independent. Despite a high concentration of newspaper ownership, a wide variety of opinion is expressed in the print media. 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. The television market is competitive, and viewers have access to diverse domestic and foreign broadcasts. Internet access is not restricted.