The Dutch Secret Service (AIVD) recruited and paid a number of journalists to spy on Chinese officials during the 2008 Olympic Games, according to the Dutch daily De Telegaaf.
A group of seven sports journalists received payment from the AIVD for gathering information during their stay in China, where the 2008 Summer Olympics was held. One of the journalists who was asked to spy refused to do so.
The journalists were asked to take photographs of and make reports about Chinese officials who met with representatives of Dutch businesses.
Rob Bertholee, head of the AIVD reacted to the news report by saying that the law gives the secret service the discretion to employ any persons who may be capable of delivering information deemed necessary. He refused to address specifics.
The Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ) says it is shocked by this news. “This is really bad,” says NVJ General Secretary Thomas Bruning. “We’re shocked not just because information was given, but also because this involved pay.”
Bruning went on to say that if the situation had involved an imminent terrorist attack, then he could, perhaps, understand journalists doing this, but this was certainly not the case. Bruning is concerned that the actions of the journalists in question could undermine the credibility and independence of the entire profession.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide