The IPI global network for press freedom today expressed deep sorrow over the death of Dutch crime journalist Peter R. de Vries and renewed calls for all those responsible for his murder to be held accountable.
de Vries, 64, had been fighting for his life in hospital after being shot five times including once in the head in the center of Amsterdam at around 7.45pm on July 6. He passed away surrounded by loved ones, according to a statement by his family.
“The death of Peter R. de Vries is yet another heartbreaking moment for Europe’s entire journalistic community”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “Our thoughts go out to his family and friends, with whom we stand in full solidarity and support. Peter was a respected and fearless crime reporter who spent his career exposing criminal acts and fighting to ensure those responsible faced justice. He was a committed servant of the truth, who was determined to ensure that even the oldest crime could not go cold. It is vital that Dutch authorities now show the same exhaustless energy in investigating, prosecuting and convicting all those behind his own murder.
“Tragically, this is the second time this year that a crime journalist has been gunned down in broad daylight in the European Union. This killing illustrates a sad reality: that even journalists working in a country with one of the highest levels of press freedom in the world are not safe. All EU governments must do more to stem the tide of attacks on journalists that we’ve seen over the last few years. Ultimately, ending impunity for those who dare carry out these crimes is one of the most effective ways to do so.
“Sadly however, those behind the murder of Greek crime journalist Giorgios Karaivaz in April remain at large. While some of the gunmen and middlemen in the assassinations of Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and Maltese investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia have been convicted, those who ultimately ordered their deaths continue to evade justice. Those behind this heinous attack on Peter cannot be allowed to do likewise.”
In a statement, his family said: “Peter fought to the end but was unable to win the battle. He died surrounded by the people who love him. Peter lived by his conviction: ‘On bended knee is no way to be free.’”.
This statement by IPI is part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries.