April 1, 2014

Government strong arms journalist, journalist to sue for libel

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:15 am

Earlier this month the government issued terrorist warnings to its employees about investigative journalist Brenno De Winter, which were unwarranted, and had to be rectified. These warnings were sent to every single security department of every single ministry, including personal details about the journalist.

Problem is, the government didn’t put in as much energy in rectifying the situation as they did slandering a well-reputed journalist. The national police invited De Winter for ‘a cup of coffee’ (aka a sit down) to talk about what happened and diffuse the tension, but managed to make it worse by telling De Winter he could not bring his lawyer, which looks like intimidation. De Winter told this to the press in the hopes of indirectly getting the national police to change their mind about him bringing his lawyer along ‘for coffee’. De Winter and his lawyer plan to sue for libel at this point.

After questions from the floor, the Dutch government distanced themselves from dealing with this and is hoping the Minister of Justice and Safety Ivo Opstelten will mop this up and make it go away.

So far, no dice.

(Link: thepostonline.nl, Photo of journalist Brenno de Winter by Roy van Ingen, some rights reserved)

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March 5, 2014

Chain mails warn government about journalist Brenno de Winter

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 12:01 pm

Brenno de Winter is an investigative reporter who was declared Journalist of the Year 2011 and that accolade seems to have the entire Dutch government quaking in its boots.

Crazy chain mails about the danger he poses are doing the rounds at all levels of Dutch government. De Winter wrote last Monday:

The army has been alerted, the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism has been brought in and all the departments have been warned. Letters are circulating among thousands of civil servants containing my home address and photos of me. We are at threat level one because Brenno is in the country and whoever spots him should raise the alarm immediately.

The alarming mails started because somebody believed De Winter was working on an article about government security.

De Winter found out that there was a campaign being staged against him when he went to the Finance Ministry for a meeting and a lunch. “A woman said: ‘We have to call security because we have a protocol about you.'” Four security agents came to bark at De Winter for a while before letting him go to his appointment, but not without one of them accompagnying De Winter: “The man watched everything. What I ate, how I ate it, whom I talked to, how I spoke and what I talked about.”

Both the police and the Ministry of Internal Affairs have distributed correction letters clearing De Winter’s name, although it remains to be seen how effective these rectifications are. The police seems to have an effective system for distributing libel, but not for retracting it. The police’s correction points out how damaging the chain mails are: “These actions paint an incorrect picture of Mr De Winter and hinder him without reason in his profession as an investigative reporter. Certain data about Mr De Winter have been distributed illegally and without sufficient regard for professional standards.”

De Winter’s main qualm with the campaign against him is that it does nothing to intercept real bad actors.

In 2000 reporter Willem Oltmans was awarded 8 million guilders in damages following a conspiracy by the Dutch government to silence him after he had interviewed president Sukarno of former Dutch colony Indonesia.

See also: No fees for freedom of information requests says Dutch Supreme Court

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January 9, 2009

Elfsteden update: 25,000 litres of pea soup and 80,000 smoked sausages

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:07 am

Soup and sausage manufacturer Unox are busy producing 25,000 litres of pea soup and 80,000 smoked sausages in time for a possible Elfstedentocht, reports Zibb.nl. The company wants to have 25 stands with volunteers from among its own ranks during the classic 200-kilometer skating race. Should the race take place, the volunteers will hand out the soup, sausages and hats.

Jort Kelder, the country’s most famous documenter of the rich, and side-kick Harry Veenendaal don’t like Unox and its plans very much. In NRC they urge culture minister Plasterk to hurry and apply for a Unesco Intangible Heritage status for the Elfstedentocht (Dutch) to protect the race from commercial interests. Kelder and Veenendaal point to the New Year’s Dive (Dutch), where the sausage giant apparently even got the riot police to keep out the riff-raff that wasn’t going to pay 2 euro to enter a public beach and participate in a traditional event.

Are we going to have an Elfstedentocht? Many Frisians are fuming at the local waterboard (AD, Dutch) which decided to open the sluices in order to drain excess water, resulting in a partial destruction of the ice layer on the brooks, canals and rivers along the Elfsteden route. The waterboard defended its decision by pointing out that moving ice could damage quays and banks.

According to Dutchnews, it should freeze minus 10 degrees or better for at least two weeks before the ice is strong enough to support the 16,000 lucky skaters of the Elfstedentocht—which, by the way, rhymes with Van Gogh. Although it’s been freezing now for over a week, the frost has mainly stuck to the Southern half of the country, with Friesland even experiencing some thaw earlier this week.

Photo of the 1997 Elfstedentocht by Tjeerd van der Werk, used under the conditions of the GNU Free Documentation License, version 1.2.

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