Saturday 24 October 2020

TV reporter jailed for refusing to answer questions about source at murder trial


An NOS television reporter has been jailed until Monday at least for refusing to answer questions as a witness in a ongoing court case.

Robert Bas told the court on Thursday that he would not give comprehensive answers to questions in court, based on his right as a journalist to protect both himself and his sources.

The court ordered him to be detained in an effort to force him to answer questions about the murder of a health board chief who was shot dead near his home in Berkel en Rodenrijs in 2014. The killer had mistaken Rob Zweekhorst for a member of a rival drugs dealing group.

At the beginning of this year, Bas learned that telephone conversations between himself and a source had been recorded by justice ministry officials and that some of them had been added to the prosecution files. The phone taps centred on the source but neither the source or Bas are considered to be involved in the case.

The lawyer for the defence summoned Bas to appear as a witness on the basis of the phone calls. He, in turn, told the court that answering questions could put both the source and himself in danger.

‘We realised that this is a serious court case but what has been forgotten in all this is that is is extremely unlikely that any statement by Robert Bas will influence this outcome,’ NOS editor in chief Marcel Gelauff said. ‘And we must not forget that the safety of a journalist and his source could be threatened.’

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