Dijkgraaf: investigation into press freedom in higher education not necessary

Despite ‘several incidents’, including at Delta, outgoing minister Robbert Dijkgraaf does not believe that the independence of higher education media is under pressure across the board.

(Photo: Joshua Hoehne/Unsplash)

Dijkgraaf regrets that Delta was forced to take an article about social unsafety at the Innovation & Impact Centre offline. ‘Independent journalism and press freedom are a great good that must be guarded at all times,’ he replied to Parliamentary questions from GroenLinks-PvdA.

Extra attention

The independence of higher education media has been at stake several times, he writes, but he sees no reason for a broad investigation yet. ‘But journalistic freedom does require extra attention.’

When it comes down to it, he ‘explicitly addresses’ the boards of universities of applied sciences and universities to safeguard the journalistic freedom of their news media. As far as he is concerned, this should be laid down, for example in an editorial statute. He will continue to point out to the institutions that there must be room ‘for articles that are critical of their own organization’.

Confidentiality clauses

GroenLinks-PvdA also wanted to know how often silence agreements are made in higher education. This phenomenon played the lead role in Delta’s erased and award-winning article. The minister does not know the answer to that question, but as far as he is concerned, silence agreements should not be used ‘to avoid exposing problems or conflicts’.

HOP, Hein Cuppen/Delta

HOP Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau

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