Freedom of the press is untouchable in the Netherlands but not for all: on top of hate messages, threats and insults we have received only for having a position different about the 30% issue it was pretty surprising to read an activist (and one of the more sounded voices) of United Expats of The Netherlands asking us for a bargain: if you want an interview, put down the video first.

Asking to delete contents that someone finds disturbing (but which do not break any laws) in return for an interview is a disturbing. The activist, M., underlined his concern for the proposal of the government but in the very long message he sent to 31mag he did not consider any of our reason.

He labelled our report as “offensive” and “inaccurate”. Actually we had already decided to interview someone from the organization; It should have been a follow up after interviewing MP  Renske Leijten who strongly opposes the 30% ruling.

Our position on the matter is clear but that does not mean we ignore the “30% supporters”. However, M. was not interested on discussing: he asked an “immediate” removal of the video, offering a “real” interview in return. “At that point you can repost the video with a correct setting”.

Our answer was clear: the video respects journalistic standards, it depicts people with good reputation or experience in their field, it give a full picture of the other side but it is focused on those opposing the 30%; adding report it would have altered the structure and that is not what we wanted.

As an independent media we take external pressure as a serious matter: we will not accept now or in the future a “trading” on our contents.

The activist himself then commented on our video as follows:

Actually, the message arrived in our mailbox (and then removed by the user) does not offer interviews but tries to influence our editorial line.

As far as we are concerned, we are available to meet the organizers of “Expat United of The Netherlands” for an interview, but we will not accept any kind of pressure or “negotiation” that might restrict our freedom.