Friday 21 September 2018

Newspaper HQ van attack was assault on free press – Dutch PM

A man drove the vehicle into the main offices of De Telegraaf in Amsterdam.

A van on fire outside the De Telegraaf building (De Telegraaf/AP)
A van on fire outside the De Telegraaf building (De Telegraaf/AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

A man has driven a van into the Amsterdam headquarters of one of the Netherlands’ major national newspapers before setting the vehicle alight, in an attack the Dutch prime minister called “a slap in the face of a free press and Dutch democracy”.

No-one was injured in the pre-dawn attack on the main offices of De Telegraaf.

The newspaper released video of the attack on its website, showing a man ramming a white van into the building twice, before walking out and setting the vehicle alight. He then drove off in a waiting car.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said a lot remained unclear about the attack, but said: “We are alert and police are doing everything they can to catch the perpetrator(s).”

Chief editor of De Telegraaf newspaper Paul Jansen said: “We will not be intimidated,” and added that “it is clear that we don’t have friends everywhere”.

Police are seeking witnesses to the incident, which happened around 4am local time (3am BST).

Another media outlet, Panorama, was attacked last week with an anti-tank weapon. One suspect was detained.

Both companies are known for their robust coverage of organised crime.

The European Union condemned the two attacks.

EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said: “We would like to express our full support and sympathy with the Dutch media and journalists and defend the right to report freely.”

Mr Jansen added: “De Telegraaf is a paper with a very clear view and very good investigative reporters, centring on crime among other things. It is no secret that unfortunately there have been more threats towards us and individual reporters.

“Those who did this want to shock us and we should not let this happen.”

Press Association

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