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Northern Ireland: Amnesty condemns threat against journalist at Sunday World newspaper

‘We are concerned that despite the frequency of such threats no one is being arrested, no one is being held to account’ – Patrick Corrigan

Amnesty International has today condemned a threat of violence made against a Belfast-based journalist at the Northern Ireland edition of the Sunday World newspaper.

The newspaper reports that officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) visited the reporter to inform them that ‘criminal elements’ have been monitoring their movements with a view to ‘some form of violent attack’ in which firearms may be used. The newspaper believes those ‘criminal elements’ belong to the east Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force – an illegal paramilitary group.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:

“Amnesty International condemns this latest sinister threat against a journalist in Northern Ireland. This threat is yet another attempt to intimidate journalists and prevent them from doing their jobs and constitutes a serious attack on press freedom. We stand in solidarity with the journalist.

“Journalists in Northern Ireland – particularly those investigating illegal paramilitary and criminal activity – have been operating in a climate of fear for years, facing all-too regular threats from armed groups.

“We are concerned that despite the frequency of such threats, no one is being arrested, no one is being held to account. The police have a responsibility to ensure journalists can report in safety.

Threats against journalists in Northern Ireland

This is the latest in a series of violent threats, including death threats made against journalists and their family members in recent years. The journalists come from a range of media outlets in Northern Ireland, including the Sunday World, Sunday Life, Belfast Telegraph and Irish News newspapers as well as the BBC.

Sunday World journalist Martin O’Hagan was shot dead in Northern Ireland in September 2001 by a loyalist paramilitary group. No one has ever been convicted of his murder.

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