THE National Union of Journalists has condemned what it describes as a “sinister” death threat against a report with the Irish News in Belfast who has been covering an ongoing murder investigation.
The NUJ said it “strongly condemns” the threat made last Friday against the reporter.
NUJ Irish Secretary, Séamus Dooley, described the threat against the NUJ member as “a sinister development” and offered support to the journalist concerned and to the Irish News.
Mr Dooley said: “This latest death threat issued against an Irish News journalist is a sinister development.
“There is a need for independent, fearless journalism in Northern Ireland and, in the current climate we regard the death threat as especially worrying.
“Journalists must be allowed to work in the public interest without intimidation.
“There is an obligation on those in positions of influence to work to ensure that reporters, photographers and editors are able to operate without risk or threat from any quarter.”
Mr Dooley added that journalists in Northern Ireland will not be deterred by threats of this nature.
“Such threats have no place in a democratic society and should be condemned by all public representatives”, he said.
“Hostility towards the media is nothing new in Northern Ireland and NUJ members are well used to dealing with abuse and intimidation.
“The Irish News has faced down bullies before. It is the job of journalists to reveal inconvenient truths. In the face of intimidation from various quarters over many years the Irish News editorial team has fearlessly fulfilled that role and will continue to do so.
“No journalist should be subjected to any form of threat.
“The chilling nature of the particular threat is of grave concern.”
Irish News editor Noel Doran said: “We are taking this development very seriously and the police are fully aware of our concerns.
“A threat against a highly respected colleague is deplorable and all attempts to undermine press freedom must be firmly resisted whenever and wherever they emerge.”