The Dutch press and Yugoslavia
Dutch journalists covered the war in former Yugoslavia as best they could, but several elements impeded good reporting. First, very few Dutch reporters were at the site. A large national newspaper such as de Volkskrant dispatched a freelancer with minimal preparation. Editorial boards had reason to fear that reporters might be injured or even killed. The Dutch journalists' union NVJ teamed up with the Ministry of Defence to organize training sessions and provided two bullet-proof vests at weekly a cost of NLG 250.
Nor did the Dutch have much background in reporting from war zones. The Dutch press relied heavily on large, experienced media such as CNN and BBC for concrete news.
Similar reproaches came from journalist circles in former Yugoslavia, including assertions that stereotypes were conveniently being recycled, such as that all Croats were murderous Catholic fascists, or that all Serbs were dogmatic communists. Journalists were expected to fathom complex situations quickly amid changing international and national relations. They also felt helpless and enraged upon witnessing human rights violations and suffering from war atrocities.
Opinion leaders such as Elsbeth Etty and Anet Bleich were urging action even before the war erupted in Bosnia. Overall, this led to what media historian Huub Wijfjes has described as journalism by disposition.