Journalists are increasingly confronted with violence and aggression during their work. For example, last year, a photographer was pushed into a ditch with his car by a wheel loader, churchgoers harassed journalists in Krimpen aan den IJssel and Urk, and NOS decided to remove all logos from their satellite vans because of increased aggression. Commissioned by the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC), researchers of the Department of Law, Society & Crime of Erasmus School of Law conduct research into the extent and nature of this type of aggression and violence.
The research team exists of Nina Holvast, Robby Roks, Joost Jansen, Joost Nan and student-assistant Laura van Dijk. Together, they focus on the nature and the extent of the aggression and violence against journalists in the Netherlands, explains the team: “we also look at who uses violence against journalists, and what policy and best practice exist against violence in other countries. Finally, we will examine which (criminal) policy interventions could be useful, like an expansion on the prohibition of community service.”
The researchers use so-called mixed methods; there will be a literature study comparing research with other European countries, a media analysis of messages from platforms like Twitter, interviews with chief editors and journalists, and a dossier study about violence against journalists to profile the perpetrators. The interdisciplinary composition of the research team enables the gathering of rich and varied research data.
The team looks forward to the further course of the research: “we have noticed that subject is very much alive, not just among journalists, but also among other interested parties. All authorities cooperate. In general, it is assumed that the ability of journalists to work without (the threat of) violence is essential. It is great fun to work together in this way with colleagues of the newly founded Department of Law, Society & Crime. Every researcher has their specific expertise. We learn a lot from each other and complement each other well.”
The research findings are expected in the first months of 2023.