NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 13:59
Amnesty International and Oxfam Novib refuse to accept the ‘charity fee’ that journalists and VIP guests have to pay at Lowlands. The organizations confirm this to the NOS after reporting in the trade journal Adformatie. Press officers of the organizations say that asking for a contribution is not in line with press freedom and equality.
Journalists and other guests who get free access to the festival, such as people from record labels, radio stations or partners of Lowlands, have to pay a charity contribution of 10 euros this year. Proceeds go to three charities.
“We don’t think it’s appropriate to take the money paid by journalists,” said an Amnesty International spokesman. The human rights organization has agreed to talk to Mojo, organizer of Lowlands, after the festival.
Oxfam Novib will also talk to organizer Mojo after the festival. “If press freedom is affected or restrictions are imposed as a result, we cannot accept that,” says a press officer of the development organization.
The Refugee Foundation, the third organization that receives a share of the proceeds according to Mojo, could not be reached for comment.
Mojo confirms that it will enter into talks with Amnesty International and Oxfam Novib after the festival, but does not want to comment on the content of the organizations’ refusal.
Lowlands’ announcement that there would be a ‘charity fee’ led to anger among journalists’ union NVJ and various media companies.
Several media, including the NOS, refuse to pay the contribution and therefore do not report on the festival. “The NOS does not pay for access to sources, so not even to be able to report on an event like Lowlands,” said NOS News editor-in-chief Giselle van Cann. “Free newsgathering also means that there is no compensation in any way.”
After the commotion, Mojo said that it is not the intention to hinder press freedom or free news gathering. According to the concert organization, journalists should consider for themselves whether paying the surcharge is a reason not to report on Lowlands.