UG lecturer targeted by extreme right

Police report of libel and intimidation

UG lecturer targeted by extreme right

UG lecturer Léonie de Jonge has reported a case of libel and intimidation against her to the police. Last week, controversial organisation Vizier op Links named her on their website.
26 April om 15:17 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 26 April 2021
om 15:17 uur.
April 26 at 15:17 PM.
Last modified on April 26, 2021
at 15:17 PM.


Door Rob Siebelink

26 April om 15:17 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 26 April 2021
om 15:17 uur.

By Rob Siebelink

April 26 at 15:17 PM.
Last modified on April 26, 2021
at 15:17 PM.

Rob Siebelink

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De Jonge studies populism, the radical right, and extreme-right politics. She also recently published her book, The Success and Failure of Right-Wing Populist Parties in the Benelux Countries. She’s been in the media more than once in the past few months, to talk about the twenty-nine Lower House seats the Freedom Party, Forum for Democracy, and JA21 won in the elections in March. 

This is why the extreme-right organisation Vizier op Links targeted her on their site. Vizier op Links says they target left-wing activists ‘not just with piercings and short hair, but also those who carry press passes, wear lab coats, togas, or ties’. 

De Jonge wrote on Twitter that the smear campaign started on Tuesday. ‘I was targeted by a far-right smear campaign, resulting in intimidation, insult & harassment.  Don’t worry, I’m fine – but it’s a good reminder why I do this research.’

‘Unmask’

The anonymous Vizier op Links has been denouncing dozens of researchers, politicians, and academics on its site for months. They claim to want to ‘unmask’ supposed left-wing politicians, judges, and scientists by publishing their names and addresses online.

Historian Nadia Bouras and GroenLinks politician Huub Bellemakers, among others, found Vizier op Links stickers at their homes. These stickers read: ‘This location is being observed by followers of Vizier op Links. Go to vizieroplinks.nl to give us tips and get an overview of leftist activists.’

In a television programme, De Jonge said the extreme-right parties won in part because of the ‘disproportionate attention’ from the media. The Vizier op Links website says De Jonge is ‘spreading misinformation in a broadcast about misinformation’. 

‘Gross violation’

The UG didn’t say exactly what happened and wouldn’t go into detail about the smear campaign and intimidation. The university also wouldn’t confirm whether any stickers had been found on De Jonge’s home. The board of directors did issue the following statement: ‘This week, one of our UG employees was hit by a smear campaign. The Board of the University rejects this gross violation of academic freedom.’

The Young Academy Groningen that De Jonge is a member of, also issued a statement: ‘We were shocked by this smear campaign. We sincerely condemn intimidation and harassment of researchers and stand with anyone who’s been targeted.’

Anthonya Visser, dean of the arts faculty where De Jonge works, posted on Twitter: ‘Unfortunately, there continue to be reasons to issue this statement. Once again, academics have faced intimidation that is linked to #VizieropLinks. I’m proud of our academics and support their #academicfreedom!’

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