NUJ condemns graffiti of journalist's name with crosshairs in Belfast

  • 13 Feb 2021

Graffiti across East Belfast this week threatens Sunday World journalist.

Belfast graffit targets journalist Patricia Devlin

The NUJ in the UK and Ireland has renewed calls on the authorities to take action to identify and punish those who consistently threaten journalists in Northern Ireland.

The union's latest call is in response to graffiti appearing across East Belfast this week which threatens Sunday World journalist Patricia Devlin. The name of the reporter was sprayed onto the wall in at least two locations and was accompanied by the image of a crosshair of a gun.

Repeated death threats targeting journalists alludes to a dangerously hostile climate in Northern Ireland for the media, and it also implies that previous action taken by the police has been insufficient in deterring the perpetrators.

Seamus Dooley, NUJ Irish secretary, said:

"This menacing and cowardly graffiti is the behaviour of thugs who are trying to target and intimidate a specific journalist, but they are also trying to send a warning message to other media workers.
"The NUJ calls on the PSNI as well as Northern Ireland's political and community leaders to do all they can to support independent, quality journalism. The authorities must now identify and prosecute the perpetrators to the full extent of the law.
"This latest threat is an attempt to stop journalists from reporting on current, turbulent events in Northern Ireland. It is also part of a wider trend of increasing threats since the first lockdown.
"Those behind threats need to feel the full force of the law, this is the most effective way to defend and protect media freedom and public interest journalism in Northern Ireland.
"Social media organisations must also ensure that their platforms are not abused to target journalists. Women journalists, in particular, are regularly targeted on social media and this is an added dimension to the current toxic atmosphere endured by many journalists."

Sunday World news report: 'Chilling sight' Sinister threats made against Sunday World journalist

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