The unprofessional and reckless handling of the case, combined with the rushed and misinformed covering by Dutch press, has risked a fair and just trial of a woman journalist, whom we deem innocent.
Istanbul, January 20, 2019 — The Coalition For Women In Journalism condemns the manner in which the Dutch authorities handled the case of their citizen Ans Boersma – a Turkey-based journalist. Their actions resulted in her detainment and deportation from Turkey. For more details refer to our earlier statement, which can be found here: https://bit.ly/2MhMjtT.
On Thursday, Turkish officials said that they had deported the journalist because of information received from Dutch authorities. Boersma has been marked as a person of interest in an investigation into a terrorism case. We are told that Boersma is being tied into a case involving an ex-boyfriend, who allegedly had ties to Jabhat al-Nusra.
Our director, Kiran Nazish, who was there with Ans during the detention to aid with legal help and co-ordination says, “We are alarmed to learn that officials in the Netherlands reached out to Turkish authorities suggesting such sensitive information. This is a reckless move by Dutch authorities and puts their citizen, Ans Boersma’s reputation, movement and dignity under threat. We request the Dutch authorities to handle the case more responsibly going forward.” She added, “Another unexpected move by the Dutch officials has been to not reveal their involvement in the deportation, which initially led the media to believe that Turkey, (where Ans is based as a correspondent) is behind the deportation. This caused a lot of confusion for the press and led to some irrelevant coverage of the case.”
The Coalition finds the conduct of the Dutch authorities disturbing, and are concerned about the resulting consequences for Boersma. The authorities need to be responsible and fair with their communication. The actions of the Dutch government have jeopardized Boersma’s safety and work as a journalist.
“As a journalist, Ans’ case is clearly a matter of public interest and the onus is on the Dutch government to provide accurate information to the media about her situation. The lack of transparency exhibited by the Dutch authorities created confusion, potentially damaged Ans’ reputation and contributed to misreporting on her case,” said Ayla Jean Yackley, a freelance reporter based in Turkey.
We ask that the circumstances of Boersma’s deportation be investigated by both the Dutch and Turkish authorities, with complete transparency. If no evidence of wrongdoing is found, we demand that the authorities return her swiftly and safe her place of work, and her current residence – Istanbul.
Boersma serves as the Economy Editor at Het Financieele Dagblad, a leading financial paper in the Netherlands. She is also a member of the Coalition For Women In Journalism, and a former fellow of the mentorship program. Ans has been largely covering economic beat and occasionally humanitarian stories in the country.
About the Coalition For Women In Journalism The Coalition For Women In Journalism is the first global network of mentors for women journalists. There are seven chapters in seven countries that offer help to journalists in five languages. The network of individuals and organizations brings together the experience and mentorship necessary to help women navigate the industry.
For more information about the Coalition, please visit www.womeninjournalism.org.
Coalition For Women In Journalism
Coalition For Women in Journalism