The Netherlands

Freedom of speech, plurality and self-regulation characterize the Dutch media system. With fading political parallelism, strong public service broadcasting and a fair level of professionalization the Dutch media system fits in the model of Democratic Corporatist media systems. Continuous debates on journalistic quality may result from freedom of speech as well as from a professional concern about media performance.

The media context offers various professional accountability instruments like the Press Council and general codes of ethics, but some of them receive only moderate support. Moreover, there are great differences between news media with regard to their efforts at being transparent and accountable to the public. Some news media publish introspective articles by their ombudsman, readers’ editor or editor-in-chief, publish their own codes, or experiment with innovative forms of accountability. This proactive openness is rather an exception than the rule and may well be a distinctive indicator for quality journalism.

For more details see Huub Evers / Harmen Groenhart (2011): The Netherlands: Bits of Accountability in a Sea of Freedom. In: Tobias Eberwein / Susanne Fengler / Epp Lauk / Tanja Leppik-Bork (eds.): Mapping Media Accountability – in Europe and Beyond. Cologne: Herbert von Halem Verlag, pp. 114-130.

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