Lake’s proposed media-policy sets off alarms in The Hague

POSTED: 08/27/13 12:45 PM

St. Maarten – VVD-parliamentarian André Bosman did not waste time when he read that Vromi-Minister Maurice Lake wants a “phased accreditation policy” for journalists in St. Maarten. In six pointed questions to Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk, Bosman makes clear that the line Lake wants to follow infringes on the constitutional right to freedom of expression.

Bosman reacted to an article that appeared on Monday morning on Caribisch Netwerk, in which Today is a partner. “Are you aware of the article “Minister wants measures against yellow journalism??” Bosman asked Plasterk.

“Up to what point is it correct that the Minister of Public Housing and Urban Planning of St. Maarten wants to limit freedom of the press in St. Maarten by introducing a phased accreditation policy? Is it correct that a journalist that does not abide by this code will not get accredited and therefore will be limited in his work?”

Bosman furthermore wonders how the proposed measure fits within article 10, paragraph 1 of the constitution. This article reads: “Everyone shall have the right to publish thoughts or opinions or provide information via the printed press, without prior permission, subject to their responsibility in terms of national ordinance.”

Paragraph 5 of the same article reads: “No one requires prior permission to collect and receive information, subject to his responsibility in terms of national ordinance. National ordinance may restrict the right to collect information.”

Bosman is of the opinion that “limiting journalistic freedoms violates the constitution and has a harmful effect on the democracy.” He asks Minister Plasterk whether he shares this opinion.

Lastly, Bosman asks Plasterk whether he is prepared to contact the Government in St. Maarten and to point out the basic right to freedom of opinion and the importance of this right in a democracy. If Plasterk is not prepared to do that, Bosman wants to know the reason behind such a decision.


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