New bill seeks to criminalize Dutch social workers, journalists working in terrorist areas without permission

An aid worker or journalist will soon likely need permission from the Ministry of Justice and Security to work in a terrorist-controlled area. Minister Grapperhaus (CDA, Justice and Security) proposed the controversial anti-terror bill which the House of Representatives approved on Tuesday.

Thomas Bruning, General Secretary of the Dutch Association for Journalists, told Trouw that his organization has “serious objections” to the bill because it compromises neutrality and defies the principles of independent journalism. The Netherlands Association of Chief Editors (Genootschap van Hoofdredacteuren) and Deputy Director Frido Herinckx of AzG Nederland (Doctors without Borders) also reportedly oppose the bill. According to Trouw, international aid organization Oxfam Novib claims the bill “goes against international humanitarian law.”

GroenLinks and D66 tried to stipulate exceptions for aid workers and journalists in the bill but the Kamer rejected these proposals during debate. The law will be implemented if approved by the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate.

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