Shock hit Amsterdam as the death of Peter de Vries was confirmed to the media by his relatives. A household name in the Netherlands, the veteran journalist was shot five times, including once in the head. He died at the age of sixty-four, following several threats from the criminal underworld and a week after his attack.
It has been reported that Peter de Vries kept fighting his wounds till the end, however he lost the battle. Surrounded by the people he loved up till the last minutes of his life, he was a man of conviction. His family, partner and loved ones expressed their pride for his work and that they need time to process his death, urging the necessary respect during this difficult period in time.
He was shot as he was making his way to a car park, after leaving a television studio. Following his shooting, two suspects were apprehended. One of which is a thirty-five-year-old Pole and another a twenty-one-year-old Dutchman who is the suspected gunman.
In view of the death of this renowned journalist, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte explained that his death was difficult to comprehend. He applauded the slain journalist for his dedication, tenacity and ability to fear no one and nothing. His mission was described as always seeking the truth and justice.
The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that she is deeply saddened by the news of his death. She also emphasised that investigative journalists play an important role for active democracies and that everything must be done to protect them.
De Vries achieved his popularity through the reporting of the kidnapping of the millionaire Freddy Heineken, the brewer, in 1983. He had his own television show for seventeen years. During this period, he worked on solving cases, with the families of victims and exposing injustice. De Vries had refused police protection following the latest death threats. He was acting as an adviser and confidant to the key prosecution witness to the Netherlands’ most wanted criminal, Ridouan Taghi. It was reported by the Dutch media that the suspected killer was engaged by Taghi.
Those campaigning in favour of press freedom highlighted that the murders of journalists show that Europe is failing to protect its journalists. A few months ago, a journalist covering crime stories in Greece was shot. In Malta, the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was the victim of a car bomb in 2017.
Do you think that more should be done to protect investigative journalists? Let us know your views in the comments section below.