NUJ response to Saoradh statement
17 May 2019
The NUJ has responded to a statement issued by Saoradh yesterday following the presence of media representatives observing a Police Service of Northern Ireland raid in Derry. Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary, and Seamus Dooley, assistant general secretary, said journalists would not be intimidated by direct or indirect threats in their coverage of the police investigation into the murder of Lyra McKee.
“We note the statement issued by Saoradh. The tone is menacing and arrogant. This is a clear attempt to intimidate journalists covering the investigation into Lyra’s murder. The NUJ has confidence in the ability of our members to cover this story in a professional manner. We are unaware of the specific circumstances of yesterday’s raid.
"The concern expressed for human rights and for the safety and welfare of working journalists is hypocritical in the context of the murder of our member Lyra McKee. So too is the demand for an NUJ investigation into the presence of media representatives in the area during the raid. We understand that in the statement issued to the media Saoradh provided pictures of the media crew, clearly intended to send a 'message'.
"Our message to Saoradh is clear and unambiguous. NUJ members will continue to do their work in a professional manner and will not accept either threats or lectures on standards from an organisation which responded in such a callous fashion to Lyra’s murder. The best way we can honour the memory of Lyra McKee is to continue her fearless work in exposing social justice and inequalities.”
Journalists' union slams Saoradh threat in wake of Lyra McKee murder Belfast Telegraph report
Dissident group condemned for attempting to ‘intimidate’ journalists Irish Times report
This morning (Thursday 16th) in Derry Saoradh activists homes were targeted by British Crown Forces who colluded with an overzealous media to intensify the hype.
As has become the norm for Republicans in Derry, several homes were invaded by armed members of the British Crown Forces in what has for several years now become an almost daily feature of life. The difference this time was one of the armoured land rovers in the Crown Force convoy carried a film crew in civilian clothing and body armour with Press markings. The crew took part in the home invasions and where clearly complicit in the attacks on Republican families.
Saoradh now ask were these individuals members of the ‘Press’? If so, which organisation where they working for?
What is the footage from this invasion to be used for?
Where will the recordings be stored?
Who has access to the footage?
Who informed them of the raids?
And what, if any, briefing were they given?
Given the history of collusion between British Crown Forces and shadowy loyalist death squads, it is imperative that these questions are answered.
This behaviour, if by a media organisation or a Crown Force unit disguised as the media, calls into question the supposed impartiality and objectivity of the media, it may in future, given the environment endanger members of the press who do go about their profession in an impartial and objective manner.
Those who work within the media are required to be neutral and to give an unbiased view point. However, in recent weeks that has been non exsistant particularly when it comes to Republicans. Is the media now letting itself be used by Crown Forces?
Saoradh call on the NUJ to investigate the incident and expel any of their members found to have engaged in this mornings attack.
Those families affected by this mornings media assisted raids have a right to privacy as a human right. The media are quick to attack Republicans, they now have to take a serious look at this mornings incident and provide these families with answer.