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Our Dutch celebrity: A Criminal.

Willem Holleeder is the most famous criminal in The Netherlands. His ‘fame’ was created by his first act of crime: Kidnapping Heineken. Yes, thé man behind the Dutch’ most famous beer. He served his time afterwards, but was soon at liberty, back in the world of crime. He has been accused of extortion, bribery and being involved in liquidations of businessmen and criminals. He went behind bars yet again and was early this year released, permitted by the kind law system in The Netherlands. Last Friday the star gave a TV interview, set up like a lecture in university, including students asking their critical questions, trying him to commit himself. It not too suprisingly failed.

The interview is not what I want to talk about. It received much criticism in the media, especially because some believed this interview put Holleeder on a pedestal. The TV program ‘College Tour’ is often recorded within an university and the interviewers are all students. The guests are presumably there to teach the students, what life taught them. Not the first format you would consider putting a criminal, but there is a certain honesty to this show, as the guests are not paid and can be asked anything.

Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, characterized as a popular newspaper, was continuously reporting in a negative sense preceding the interview. A crime reporter from the newspaper thought it was disgrace to give this criminal this honor, whilst later came apparent mister reporter has requested his own interview with Holleeder, one where Holleeder would be given the choice to steer the interview. Disgrace of journalism, much?

De Telegraaf is part from TMG, a company owning multiple media outlets within The Netherlands. Because of this, the reporter had all the chance to preach his shame of the program. Soon his email he sent Holleeder came apparent, and now everyone has nearly forgotten this hype. All in all, I thought it was an interesting sum of journalistic ethical issues, in which College Tour prevailed with a fairly interesting episode.


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