Tuesday 25 February 2020

How deep has Shell drilled into Dutch political life? FOI probe aims to find out

Part of the massive Pernis refinery. Photo: Shell Media Library

A group of journalists have launched a mass freedom of information campaign in an attempt to chart Shell’s political influence in the Netherlands.

Requests have been submitted to 17 government institutions – nine ministries, three provincial administrations and five municipalities – asking for all documents originating form or relating to the oil company.

The Platform Authentieke Journalistiek (PAJ) submitted the requests in association with investigative website Follow The Money (FTM), which will publish the results on its website as the Shell Papers.

It has set up a dashboard where the documents will be uploaded in full as they come in and which allows readers to track the progress of all requests for information made under the freedom of information law or wet openbaarheid van bestuur (WOB).

On its website, FTM said it wanted to establish ‘the influence of Shell on Dutch public administration regarding, for example, economic, financial, international, environment and even education policy’.

The PAJ defines itself as a co-operative association of young researchers who aim to collate and publish information ‘which contributes to the political struggle of people who are affected by exclusion, exploitation and other forms of injustice’.

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