Strongly condemns cowardly attack on Dutch investigative journalist
“We are extremely appalled by and strongly condemn the attack against one of the most well-known European investigative journalists, Peter R. de Vries,” declared the Members of the European Parliament, who hail from various political groups. Quaestor David Casa MEP, who co-chairs the Media Working Group in the European Parliament, issued a statement (attached) calling on the EU Commission to act.
Yesterday, Mr de Vries was shot and severely wounded as he was leaving a TV studio in the busy Leideseplein square area of Amsterdam. He is now fighting for his life in hospital.
David Casa, together with the other MEPs said that “over the past years, the safety of journalists has dramatically declined in the European Union. Attacks that have left journalists dead in retaliation for their investigations and their stories have become more and more common. The EU, once considered one of the safest spaces for investigative journalism, is clearly not sufficiently well equipped to guarantee the safety of all journalists who expose wrongdoing, especially the activities of organised crime groups.”
Mr. de Vries is one of the most renowned Dutch and European investigative journalists, having conducted heavy investigations, which created great impact, against prominent members of organised crime groups. Through his investigations, Mr. de Vries has looked into notorious cases of kidnapping and has exposed criminal groups, including large-scale drug-dealing organisations, helping to their dismantling.
In their statement, the MEPs underlined that Mr. de Vries has been a keen defender of democracy and justice, in spite of the many very serious threats that he had received over the years. He has demonstrated great courage and enormous dedication to his profession and to exposing the truth. Yesterday however, one of these threats materialised.
“We call on the relevant Dutch authorities to thoroughly investigate this case, identifying both the perpetrators and those who ordered this appalling attack, bringing them to justice.
“And at the same time, we call on the European Commission to take note of the seriousness of the situation concerning the safety of journalists in the EU and commit, from the highest level, to addressing this issue through a comprehensive European strategy and legislation on the matter. We cannot allow people who stand up for EU values such as freedom of expression and freedom of information to constantly risk their lives for defending democracy and justice,” the MEPs concluded.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 177 Members from all EU Member States