NUJ condemns “disturbing” attacks of the media during the Derry Easter Monday commemorations

  • 02 Apr 2024

The union has strongly condemned the harassment and intimidation of reporters and photographers covering the anniversary of the 1916 Rising on the streets of Derry.

A number of petrol bombs were thrown towards journalists gathered to report on a parade in the Creggan area and a media crew was chased from the area by a group wearing balaclavas. One petrol bomb was thrown at a television reporter, one exploded at the feet of a journalist after he had warned a colleague that he was being pursued. Two  bombs were thrown at members of the media as they were being trying to escape while being chased.

Seamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary described the treatment of journalists covering the public gathering was “completely unacceptable and deeply disturbing”. He said:

“I have received reports from journalists covering the event and spoken to a photographer chased from the area. This type of behaviour has no place in a democratic society. Coming just a few weeks before the killing of Lyra McKee – and a day after what would have been her thirtieth birthday – this is a profoundly depressing development. To again see young men carrying petrol bombs and masked men marching in paramilitary uniforms is very disturbing.

“The attempt to intimidate photographers and reporters must be condemned. I understand one man warned photographers to ‘get out of Creggan’. It is extremely fortunate that no one was seriously injured by the petrol bomb and the consequences of the reprehensible behaviour could have been more serious. There was a clear strategy in place to intimidate photographers and to attempt to intimidate individual members of the media corps.

“These people do not represent the people of Creggan or the community of Derry. They do not have a mandate to dictate the terms on which journalists cover news stories in Northern Ireland.“The NUJ sends solidarity to all journalists who covered

events and to those who were the subject of harassment. All workers, including frontline workers, media representatives and the police, have a right to go about their work without fear of attacks.

“It was especially disappointing to see youths carry petrol bombs.  Greater efforts must be made to encourage young people to steer clear of violence and to engage in the life of their communities in a positive and constructive fashion.”

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