The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for media freedom, today expressed deep concern over recent attacks on the offices of De Telegraaf, the largest selling daily in The Netherlands, and the Dutch weeklies Panorama and the Nieuwe Revu.

The office of De Telegraaf was attacked in the early hours of Tuesday, June 26 when an unidentified person drove a vehicle into the building and set it on fire. The attacked managed to escape in a getaway car, which was found a day later in burnt condition with a fake number plate.

The prime minister of The Netherlands, Mark Rutte, described the incident as “a slap in the face of a free press and Dutch democracy.”

On Friday, June 22, an anti-tank missle was fired at a building housing the offices of Panorama and Nieuwe Revu. Police have arrested one person in connection with the incident.

IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen condemned the attacks, which investigators suggest may have been carried out by drug-trafficking gangs.

“We are greatly disturbed by these incidents, which took place in a country known for its robust defence of media freedom at home and around the world”, he said. “With initial reports suggesting that organized crime groups may be seeking to intimidate independent media outlets that report on their activities, it is essential that the Dutch authorities implement measures to ensure the safety of news media in the country.”