THE National Union of Journalists has condemned the attack on Belfast Telegraph journalist Adrian Rutherford.
Mr Rutherford was attacked and had his phone stolen by a masked gang while covering loyalist protests in east Belfast on Monday night.
NUJ Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley said the assault on Mr Rutherford was the latest in a series of attacks on journalists in Northern Ireland.
Mr Dooley said: “This is an extremely worrying development.
“Attacks of this type against reporters and photographers represent an attack on democracy, in the same way as attacks and threats against elected public representatives strike at the heart of democracy.
“No one disputes the right of citizens or groups to engage in legitimate protests but recent days have been marked by unacceptable behaviour which seeks to intimidate and terrorise innocent people going about their work in the public interest.
“I would appeal to all those in positions of influence to unite against this type of behaviour and to work towards creating a safe environment for all communities.”