Netherlands | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 Scores

Press Status


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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The country's media are free and independent. 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 in prohibited areas. In July 2005, Mohammed Bouyeri, the radical Islamist who killed controversial filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004, was sentenced to life imprisonment. Following the murder, authorities criticized the media for inciting racial intolerance, and Dutch leaders contemplated invoking a seldom-used law banning blasphemy. Van Gogh's collaborator, Dutch Liberal Party parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali, continued to work on films examining discrimination in Muslim societies despite threats to her life. Owing to security concerns, the names of the actors are not being divulged and will be obscured when the films are released. 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.