Audit of freedom of expression in the Netherlands



This project has received funding from the Democracy and Media Foundation

Project leader: Tarlach McGonagle

The project will provide an academic study, or ‘audit’, of the laws, policies and practice affecting freedom of expression and participation in public debate in the Netherlands. The audit will focus on a range of themes and seek to ascertain whether Dutch law, policy and practice measure up to leading European standards. This will involve identifying good or promising practices, as well as possible shortcomings. Its findings will in turn serve as a basis for the development – in consultation with experts and stake-holders – of proposals for legislative reform and policy-making initiatives.

The project’s desired short-term impact is to stimulate, inform and guide further reflection and public debate about the need to strengthen the existing law and policy framework for freedom of expression in the Netherlands. Longer term, it also aims to serve as a ‘pilot’ study for similar studies in other countries. As such, the project has been designed in the spirit of Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)4 on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors.

An initial research paper, which will be published on a dedicated project webpage, will serve as a basis for consultations with experts and stake-holders and provide input for a policy paper. The initial research findings have been presented at two public conferences and an invitation-only expert workshop and the policy paper will be presented at a public conference.

The project’s expert advisory group comprises experts from a variety of backgrounds: government ministries, civil society, journalists’ organisations, the media, law and academia.

Draft study:

We welcome feedback on this draft study until 15 June 2018.
Please send comments, suggestions and media enquiries to:

Tarlach McGonagle and Leon Trapman will present the project and the main findings of the (draft) study to the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI) in Strasbourg on 20 June 2018.