Northern Ireland

Violent threat to Irish News journalist 'repugnant'

The exterior of the Irish News offices Image copyright Google
Image caption The exterior of the Irish News offices

Threats made against a Belfast-based journalist have been condemned by their editor and the journalists' union.

The journalist, who works for the Irish News, has been threatened with violence by dissident republicans.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) condemned the threat, while Irish News editor Noel Doran described it as "repugnant".

He said the journalist had been told they would be attacked in their home and called for the threat to be lifted.

Mr Doran added he was satisfied the threat was being treated very seriously by police.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said it would not not discuss the security of individuals and that "no inference should be drawn from this".

However, a PSNI spokesperson said if officers "receive information that a person’s life may be at risk we will inform them accordingly. "We never ignore anything which may put an individual at risk."

'Disgraceful'

Mr Doran said a plan to physically attack a journalist at their home in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic crisis was "an appalling development".

"Our staff will not be deterred from carrying out their duties at any stage and I would call on those behind this threat to withdraw it without delay," he said.

Mr Doran and the NUJ have called for the threat to be lifted immediately.

Séamus Dooley, from the NUJ, said the threats were "disgraceful".

"It is shocking this threat has been made at a time when NHS staff are trying to save lives and help the vulnerable in our society," he said.

"While the coronavirus is causing immense physical, mental and financial suffering; those behind this despicable threat have issued it in the hope of silencing a specific journalist and journalism in general."

The attack was also condemned by Patrick Corrigan, from Amnesty International, who said journalists were providing "an essential public service in the middle of a global pandemic."