#citizenjournalism How your video goes viral and almost lands you in court

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Take a safari through nature and come face to face with wild animals

reads the invitation on the Beekse Bergen website. Those who accept and head to Hilvarenbeek find a man-made safari park, complete with wild animals. You can even stay overnight in the park and enjoy a real savannah experience in Noord Brabant!

Reclame Safari Resort Beekse Bergen. Source: Youtube.
Dieren in Beekse Bergen

The animals may look cute and cuddly in the adverts

In reality they’re anything but. So visitors are forbidden from getting out of their car during the safari.

Reclame Safari Resort Beekse Bergen. Source: Youtube
Robin de Graaf was therefore amazed to see people doing just that during his visit.
To look at cheetahs, no less, a predator that can run up to 100 km an hour.
Robin sees it happening, grabs his smartphone and makes this video
Frans gezin in safaripark Beekse Bergen heeft echt veel geluk. Camera: Robin de Graaf. Source: Youtube
Then he sees the family getting out of their car again...
An astonished Robin keeps filming, also when the family has to run for their lives.
Frans gezin in safaripark Beekse Bergen heeft echt veel geluk. Camera: Robin de Graaf. Source: Youtube


Thankfully it ends well. Once he recovers from the shock, Robin puts his eyewitness account on social media. The video soon goes viral.

Two days later the video is also picked up by traditional media.
Het Journaal (NOS), Pauw (BNNVARA), Nieuwsuur (NTR) en CNN bespreken het incident op 11-05-2018. Sources: Youtube & Collectie Beeld & Geluid.
Robin wordt geinterviewd

The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, I keep getting Facebook messages and my mailbox is full. Does anyone have a large stone I can crawl under?

Robin's mother

The press is pushing to speak with the person who made the video. Robin is suddenly famous.

Has Robin become a citizen journalist now?
Robin interviewed on Omroep Zeeland, 11-05-2018. Source: Omroep Zeeland.

Citizen journalism

is a term that is used for news that is collected, written and published outside established media channels, by people who are not professional journalists. These days, everyone can make videos and put them online, like Robin did. He presented the news, the traditional journalists the interpretation. Robin was thus a citizen journalist for a day.  

Twitter reactie

Robin’s approach has received growing criticism on social media.

Tjeerd Posthuma reacts on Twitter, 11-05-2018. Source: Twitter
And so Robin appears in front of the camera again...
Robin interviewed on HvNL, 11-05-2018, SBS. Source: Hart van Nederland

Criticism has been received from another perspective as well.

If the tourists who got out of their car at Beekse Bergen had been attacked by the cheetahs, the person filming could have faced a fine and prison.

Nico van Eijk, Professor of Information Law

Professor of Information Law Nico van Eijk interviewed on Hart van Nederland, SBS, 15-05-2018. Source: Hart van Nederland.
Advocaat Jens van den Brink in radio-uitzending

Nonsense says lawyer Jens van de Brink

He thinks Robin is blameless. The lawyer can imagine that the boys didn't know what to do. Plus the fact that they simply couldn’t do very much without putting themselves in danger.

Jens van den Brink on Dit is de dag, 15-05-2018. Source: NPO Radio 1.

Wat do you think?

Still uit video Robin

The courts refuse to give an opinion on Robin's approach

But say they are happy so many people have watched the images. “Now everyone has been able to see what happens if you decide to have a picnic among the cheetahs. The video will prevent this from happening again, which we believe is very important."

Frans gezin in safaripark Beekse Bergen heeft echt veel geluk. Camera: Robin de Graaf. Source: Youtube
Robin de Graaf

Think first, act later

Less than a month later no one is talking about the French family at Beekse Bergen anymore.  The media circus moves on. Peace descends on Scharendijke again. And Robin? Now he thinks twice before putting a video online.

Still from Robin interviewed on Omroep Zeeland, 11-05-2018. Source: Omroep Zeeland.

Did you know that the video made it to the top 3 most-viewed Dutch YouTube videos of 2018?

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