Huib Modderkolk, journalist at de Volkskrant , has to delete a passage from his upcoming book about digital espionage. The court in Amsterdam decided this Friday in summary proceedings brought by the AIVD.
According to the court, the State has made it sufficiently plausible that publication of the passage in question could put a source of the AIVD at risk. As a result, a restriction on freedom of expression is justified, according to the judge.
According to the Volkskrant, Modderkolk already had a number of sentences from It is war, but no one sees it adjusted, but he had not responded to all the AIVD's requests.
The journalist tells the newspaper on Friday that he cannot agree with the AIVD's statement that the passage in his book threatens the life of a source. "But the judge does not think the chance that a person can be in danger is negligible. It is very difficult to defend yourself if the AIVD claims that people can be put in danger of life."
Modderkolk emphasizes that the operation that he wrote about has already been completed. He regrets the decision of the judge. "It is a shame that I have to write less detailed about the AIVD as a result." The journalist has not yet decided whether he will appeal.
A spokesperson for the Interior Minister, Kajsa Ollongren, said that it is sometimes a difficult dilemma. "The freedom of news gathering and journalism weighs heavily, but the protection of people who work for services also". Due to concerns about the safety of the sources, the case was referred to the judge, the spokesperson said. The ministry is "satisfied" with the ruling.
The minister first decided not to report against Modderkolk
Initially, the AIVD announced that a report could be filed against Modderkolk if he did not cancel the passage in question, but Minister Ollongren decided to await the outcome of the summary proceedings first.
It is not the first time that Modderkolk has provided information about the AIVD. In 2018, together with the Nieuwsuur program, he announced that the intelligence service would have access to a computer network of Russian hackers. In this way, the service could see that attempts had been made in Russia to influence the latest US presidential election.
See also: No AIVD report against Volkskrant journalist Huib Modderkolk for the time being
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