What is the Media Code?
Everyone in the Netherlands is entitled to respect for their privacy. This is especially true of children, whose rights in this regard are guarded even more stringently than those of adults. The right to protection of one’s private life is enshrined in several international treaties, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Convention on Human Rights. The issue has also been addressed in judgments handed down by the European Court of Human Rights and various Dutch courts.
The purpose of the Media Code is to protect the privacy of the Royal House while satisfying media demand for images of members of the Royal House in a personal setting. Thanks to the Code, the royal children can enjoy a relatively undisturbed childhood, and members of the Royal House can act freely in private settings. These principles, which are firmly anchored in the case law on the protection of privacy, have nothing to do with restricting the freedom of the press.
The Media Code is not binding. The Government Information Service (RVD) advises the media on whether a given photograph depicts a private situation or not. The media then decide for themselves whether or not to publish it. Ultimately, the decision on whether the publication of a given photograph constitutes an unlawful infringement of the subject’s privacy rests with the courts. Media outlets that respect the privacy of members of the Royal House are invited to participate in media opportunities on what would otherwise be private occasions, such as family holidays. If a news outlet has infringed on the privacy of members of the Royal House, it may be denied access to future media opportunities.