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The Netherlands – (C1) Supervising the watchdog ‘control of the controllers’

Score in short:

One leading example is the ‘Foundation Media Debate Bureau’, the website is another. Both invite media professionals as well as citizens to think about quality, reliability and diversity in the media.

Score in detail:

Two major examples of the watchdog function are the Stichting Mediadebatbureau (‘Foundation Media Debate Bureau’) and the website

The independent Stichting Mediadebatbureau was set up in 2005 by NVJ (the Dutch Association of Journalists), the public broadcaster and NDP (the association of newspaper publishers). The objective of the Foundation is to initiate discussions of methods, content and ethics in the Dutch press and journalistic practice, setting media professionals as well as citizens thinking about quality, reliability and diversity in the media. This kind of debate may create better understanding and new insights, which may in turn trigger an appropriate response. The reports written by Media Debate can be consulted on their website so that all those interested can read the recommendations and perhaps implement them ( 2010). The website is an equally refreshing source of ideas for debate and self-reflection in journalistic circles. It is an independent weblog about journalistic practice offering a forum for debate and comments about developments in the media (De Nieuwe Reporter 2010).

Finally, several newspapers and broadcasters also have ombudsmen to whom citizens can address questions, remarks or criticism. It is their task to be approachable for the public at large and to act as watchdogs with regard to the good practice of journalists and editors (evers, Groenhart & Van Groesen 2010).