29 citizen and just around 9-12 journalists submitted a Freedom of Information request on MH17

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Dutch Minister of the Ministry for Security and Justice at October 3 2017 released an overview of Wet Openbaarheid van Bestuur (WOB) requests (request on Freedom of Information) for MH17.

CDA members of Parliament requested the Minister to supply such an overview in the September plenair debat ‘Vervolgmechanisme MH17’

A WOB-request is a request to Dutch authorities for documents which shows how authorities operated, made decisions.

It was already publically known that especially RTL Nieuws (Pieter Klein) submitted a couple of WOB-requests. One of the requests was submitted by RTL, NOS and Volkskrant. This request is now being judged by the highest Dutch court, Raad van State. The WOB-requests was submitted in October 2014.

The overview showing WOB-requests is very interesting. It shows various sections of WOB requests sorted by Ministry or organization. A part of the overview shows WOB- requests for Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Algemene Zaken (head of each page had VKC BZ,AZ). Another section  shows WOB-requests for Ministry of Security and Justice. Then there are requests for Ministry of VWS, the Dutch Police , Ministry of I& M, Ministry of Defense, Foreign Affairs, and the Dutch Public Prosecutor.

Each section mentions if a journalist or citizen submitted the request. Different people are identified by a number. While not specified, it is very likely that for instance ‘Journalist 1’ is the same journalist in all the different sections.

However I am not totally sure. Lets say about 9 to 12 different journalists of 9 different organizations submitted a request.  The mentioning of journalist is either a freelance journalist or the news organization. At least two journalists of RTL Nieuws submitted WOB-requests. However these two are mentioned as ‘journalist 1’

Some conclusions:

  • in almost all cases the request for information was rejected
  • 29 different citizens subbmitted a WOB-request
  • many of those requests submitted by citizens  show support for a conspircacy scenario
  • some of the requests submitted by citizens were incorrect. Like asking questions instead of requesting specific documents
  • 8 citizens submitted a request to the Dutch Public Prosecutor. They should have known Dutch prosecutor is not making evidence public as a result of a WOB-request
  • RTL Nieuws submitted the most WOB-requests of all Dutch media
  • only 9 to max 12  different journalists submitted requests. 2 of those did just a single WOB request
  • 9 journalists submitted requests on the Professor Maat case to Dutch police. So for journalists this seems to be the most interesting aspect of MH17
  • one request by a citizen was rejected because of a suspicion the person wanted to earn money (burger 3a). The possibility to use Wob to get money was made impossible in 2016.

The overview shows that 29 different citizens requested information. While only 9 different journalists/media organizations filed a request for information.

Of the 29 citizens, about 16  submitted the same request. These requests all want information on the investigation into the flight data recorder and the suggested deviation of the route. These requests are likely organized by a group of  pro Russia individuals. All these requests were submitted in 2015.

Journalist 1,2,3 are RTL Nieuws, Volkskrant and NOS. RTL Nieuws submitted 6 requests. NOS  4 requests and Volkskrant also  4 requests.

Journalist 4 is likely someone working for Dutch investigative radio program Argos.

Journalist 8 and 9 both did just one WOB request; to get info on the professor Maat case .


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