NUJ “shocked” at shooting of Peter R de Vries

  • 07 Jul 2021

The union has joined the condemnations and expressed its shock at the shooting of the Dutch investigative journalist in Amsterdam on Tuesday 6 July.

The award-winning crime journalist known for exposing criminal and drugs gangs was shot several times; reports said three suspects had been arrested. 

He is a high-profile reporter and commentator in the Netherlands. He was shot as he left a TV studio on the Lange Leidsedwarsstraat. A BBC report said he had previously been given police protection after receiving threats for his involvement in criminal cases.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“Our thoughts are with Peter R de Vries and his family. This is a deeply shocking attack on a journalist on the streets of Amsterdam. The level of violence against journalists for just doing their job is something governments must take seriously, and justice must be done. Any attack on a journalist is an attack on the freedom of the press. His awarding-winning work exposing criminals and gangs has brought him into danger before and his courage must be commended.”

Peter R de Vries worked for De Telegraaf, Panorama magazine, Algemeen Dagblad and ran his own crime programme on television. He won an international Emmy Award in 2008 for his work investigating the 2006 disappearance of teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba.

Tony Sheldon, chair of the NUJ’s Netherlands branch said:

“NUJ members working in the Netherlands are shocked and angry at the news of the attempted murder of the high-profile investigative crime reporter Peter R de Vries in Amsterdam last night and stand shoulder to shoulder with our Dutch and international colleagues in condemning this brazen attempt to intimidate our profession. We, as journalists, must remain resolute, in the face of all threats, to defend our role to report the truth.”

Cailin Mackenzie, chair of the NUJ's Continental European Council, said:

"We condemn this attack on Peter R de Vries. This shooting took place outside a TV station, in daylight and in front of witnesses. It was a horrendous attack on one person, but it sends a clear message to all journalists – ‘you are fair game’ even in countries which respect press freedom and the rule of law. It is shocking, but it will not work. Journalists will continue to report, and their unions will continue to support them."

The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) condemned the murder attempt as another tragic blow to press freedom in Europe.

Thomas Bruning, general secretary of the Dutch Journalists’ Association (NVJ) said:

“This hits journalism right in the heart. Of course, it remains to be seen what Peter R de Vries' activities are related to, but the attack took place outside RTL Boulevard. De Vries is a fierce crimefighter, persistent and courageous. We can only hope he survives.”

Mogens Blicher Bjerregard, EFJ president said:

“I send my thoughts to Peter and expect an immediate investigation bringing the masterminds of this awful attack to justice. Enabling and protecting the crucial work of (investigative) journalists to deal with crime and other essential issues is key for any democracy.”

Younes MJahed, IFJ president, said:

"We are shocked by this attack against a journalist who has reported extensively on matters of public concerns and has taken huge risks to tell the truth. This is an attack on press freedom and we urge authorities to swiftly investigate this case. Our thoughts are with Peter, his family and friends."

Peter remains  fighting for his life in hospital.

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