Northern Ireland: Death threats against journalists must stop immediately

Media industry, trade union, political and civic society leaders have today come together to demand the "immediate withdrawal" of paramilitary death threats against Northern Ireland journalists. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is joining its affiliate the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in demanding that threats against journalists be put to an end immediately.

Credit: The Irish News

This public campaign was launched in response to an escalation of threats and intimidation of NUJ members by loyalist and republican paramilitaries over the last 12 months. 

On 19 May, a public statement of solidarity appeared on the front page of 3 regional daily newspapers,  the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and News Letter newspapers as a response to a twelve-month period of increasing  death threats coming from dissident Republican and Loyalist paramilitary groups against journalists of the three newspapers and parliamentarians who tried to defend them.

Many journalists have been threatened for their investigatory work in exposing criminal activities of Republican and Loyalist paramilitary groups.

Today, the NUJ has launched an online petition to denounce the escalation of these threats. The IFJ encourages all its members to sign the petition. 

Séamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, said:

"In the past, the trade union movement took to the streets in protest against the threats to workers. In the difficult circumstances in which we find ourselves today, we rely on newspapers to highlight the threats to journalists. By working with the publishers and our members affected, we have been able to secure the support of a cross-section of society in Northern Ireland. We warmly welcome the strong stand taken by political and community leaders and look forward to a renewed drive to ensure journalists can safely carry out their work on behalf of the public."

 IFJ Secretary General, Anthony Bellanger, said: “No political groups or paramilitary groups must obstruct the freedom of the press and the independent work of journalists. Today, we stand in solidarity with our colleagues in Northern Ireland and call on the Irish authorities to ensure the safety of journalists and bring these threats to an end.