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Criminal violence against journalists must be punished, says NUJ

17 November 2020

The NUJ has today called on the Scottish authorities to hunt down the perpetrators of the attack aimed at silencing Glasgow journalists, and the union extends its support and solidarity to colleagues who continue to report on criminal activity.

On Sunday 1 November, the car belonging to the founder and publisher of The Digger magazine, James Cruickshank, was firebombed in Glasgow and local shops were visited and told to stop selling the publication, according to Press Gazette.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"This is a deliberate attempt to silence journalists and curtail the right to report on crime and corruption. Firebombing premises and threatening shopkeepers are outrageous acts that need urgent investigation. Crime reporters are often at the sharp end when it comes to threats, intimidation, and acts of aggression. More needs to be done to stamp out this unacceptable behaviour, and to tackle the growing climate of hostility that is undermining journalists’ safety."

Last week the Press Gazette reported a woman had been jailed for three years for attacking freelance court reporter Wendy Barlow outside Burnley Magistrates’ Court in September last year.

Earlier this month the NUJ published the findings of an all-members survey about the safety of journalists in the UK, the survey showed that criminals have been responsible for a range of attacks, threats and abuse with the intention of preventing, deterring, or silencing the media. The NUJ survey highlights a range of examples of threats and attacks including the following statements:

"Threatened at crime scene by father of killer. Threatened at court by his relatives"
"I was reporting from a crown court trial. A witness sent me a threatening message. I had to report the incident to the police."
"One person who appeared in court found my address and made threats."
"I work as a court reporter and have received threats from people I’ve reported on."
"I have a scar on my face from covering a riot situation and on one occasion had to be escorted from a court building by security because I was surrounded by a mob."

When survey respondents were asked about working in public spaces, 56 per cent of the respondents said the public were the most likely perpetrators involved in attempts to deter journalists from their work.

Access the NUJ safety report 2020

Tags: , safety, health and safety, journalist safety, journalists intimidated, scotland, glasgow, court reporting, criminal reporting