Northern Ireland

UDA threat against Belfast journalist

UDA mural Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The threat came from a section of the UDA, the NUJ said

A Belfast-based journalist has been threatened by a section of the UDA, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has said.

It said the threat was issued because of the journalist's reporting on criminal activity associated with the paramilitary group.

The reporter wishes to remain anonymous.

The union said that journalists must be allowed to work "without fear of intimidation or threat of violence".

"We understand this is a credible threat of violence, confirmed by the PSNI, and are therefore concerned for the safety of the journalist and those close to him," said Seamus Dooley, the Irish secretary of the NUJ.

"We urge those in positions of influence within the UDA to use their good offices to have the threat withdrawn.

"The NUJ has offered support and assistance to the journalist under threat and will always support members placed under threat."

He added: "Respect for divergent views and challenging journalism is the hallmark of a democratic society and there is no place in our society for this type of intimidation, from any quarter."

DUP East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson condemned the threats, saying "paramilitary activity" has "absolutely no place in our society".

"Society upholds freedom of the press. Nobody should feel intimidated as a result of the work they do," he added.

Sinn Féin's northern leader Michelle O'Neill condemned the threats on Twitter.

"This threat should be lifted immediately and all political leaders should show support for this journalist.

"There is no place for UDA or any paramilitary group in our society. Needs to be challenged head on," she said.

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