NUJ condemns vile threat to Northern Ireland newspapers

  • 08 May 2020

Dissident loyalist group threaten journalists at the Belfast-based Sunday World and Sunday Life newspapers

The NUJ in the UK and Ireland has condemned as "vile" a threat issued to journalists by the South East Antrim Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

The dissident loyalist group's threat was made against journalists at the Belfast-based Sunday World and Sunday Life newspapers. The threat is being taken seriously by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and by the media company, which also publishes the Belfast Telegraph, Sunday Independent, Irish Independent, the Herald and a range of regional titles.

Séamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, said:

"This is a vile attempt to intimidate editors, journalists and publishers.

"It is the latest in a series of threats in Northern Ireland against journalists but is all the more sinister because it is a blanket threat against two newspapers, titles which have served the people of Northern Ireland fearlessly and often in the face of threats.

"The NUJ, and through us the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) extends support and solidarity to all journalists employed by the group, for whom this is a distressing time.

"In a week in which we marked World Press Freedom Day, this is a grim reminder of the threats faced by many journalists across the globe by those who have reason to fear a free, independent and questioning press.

"This threat should be lifted immediately and unequivocally by the South East Antrim UDA. We appeal to anyone who may be in a position to influence these people to immediately intervene.

"While these paramilitaries are trying to intimidate journalists and their families, key workers – including journalists – are making huge sacrifices for their communities.

"Key workers are working long hours to save lives, treat the sick, keep people informed, stock shelves and maintain supply chains. The PSNI should not have to deal with such threats at this time.

"The NUJ will continue to support any journalist who faces threats. The officers of the NUJ's Belfast and district branch and the wider membership of the NUJ in the UK and Ireland stand united in solidarity."

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