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To: This statement has already been signed by people across Northern Ireland. Please join us and add your name.

Stop the rise in death threats against Northern Ireland journalists

Stand up for Journalists -

Over the past 12 months we have witnessed with alarm an increase in the number of violent threats against journalists in Northern Ireland.

This month Loyalist paramilitaries have threatened all journalists working at the Sunday Life and Sunday World newspapers in Belfast. This follows recent threats against a journalist working for The Irish News.

Attempts to intimidate journalists have come from dissident Republican and Loyalist paramilitary groups and are intended to prevent the media from investigating their activities and exposing criminality.

Threats against journalists and media organisations have no place in our society. It is vital that such behaviour is not tolerated. No worker should be exposed to threats for doing their job.

At a time when the media is playing such an important role in covering the terrible Covid-19 pandemic the recent, blanket threat is especially worrying.

Elected politicians who criticised the threats have now become the subject of intimidation from groups without any mandate.

Attempts have been made to silence public representatives for defending the right to freedom of expression.

Public support has sustained journalists during the dark days of the past.

Today we assert the right of our communities to be informed by journalists operating without fear or intimidation.

It is the function of the media to ask difficult questions, to speak truth to power, to expose corruption, to shine a light into dark corners.

Journalists in Northern Ireland will continue to do so.

Why is this important?

The NUJ believes a free, independent media is a cornerstone of democracy.

No group can be allowed to undermine the freedom of the press. Every effort must be made to ensure that those who are guilty of intimidation are brought to justice.

We call for the immediate withdrawal of all threats against journalists in Northern Ireland and for the freedom of the press to be respected and protected.



2020-05-27 16:47:40 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2020-05-23 09:31:57 +0100

Since the Stand up for Journalism initiative was launched, it has been endorsed by more supporters including - Dominique Pradalié, general secretary of the French journalists' union SNJ and Ricardo Gutierrez, general secretary of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ); the largest public service union in Ireland, FORSA, and the Journalists' Union of Athens Daily Newspaper (JUADN); Jo Stevens, Labour's shadow secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport; and Chris Matheson, Labour's shadow minister for digital, culture, media and sport; Rob Butler, Conservative MP for Aylesbury and Lord Hay of Ballyore, Democratic Unionist Party life peer. Rebecca Vincent, UK bureau director of Reporters Without Borders and Ian Marshall, former president of the Ulster Farmer’s Union.

More details on the NUJ website:

2020-05-22 10:11:42 +0100

Irish Examiner editorial: "We salute a courageous and worthy initiative that asserts the right of journalists to work without threats, intimidation or harassment. Threats against journalists should not be tolerated in any free society."

2020-05-20 21:39:01 +0100

500 signatures reached

2020-05-20 15:56:08 +0100

Further pledges of support for the statement (full list below) -
Rob Butler: Conservative MP for Aylesbury
Rosemary Barton: Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Ulster Unionist Party
Lord Hay of Ballyore: Democratic Unionist Party Life peer

2020-05-20 11:43:01 +0100

100 signatures reached

2020-05-20 10:20:53 +0100

50 signatures reached

2020-05-20 09:54:10 +0100

25 signatures reached

2020-05-20 09:34:57 +0100

10 signatures reached

2020-05-20 09:17:22 +0100

List of supporters -

2020-05-20 09:17:10 +0100

Martin Breen: Editor, Sunday Life
Eoin Brannigan: incoming Editor in Chief, Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life
Brian Farrell: Editor, Sunday World
Noel Doran: Editor, Irish News
Alistair Bushe: Editor, News Letter
Anthony Neeson: Editor, Andersonstown News
Mark Conway: Editor, The Impartial Reporter

2020-05-20 09:17:03 +0100

Peter Vandermeersch, Publisher, Independent News and Media, and Belfast Telegraph
Edward McCann: Deputy Publisher, Independent News and Media
Sarah Little: Publishing Director, Independent News and Media

2020-05-20 09:16:55 +0100

Michelle Stanistreet: General Secretary
Seamus Dooley: Assistant General Secretary
Sian Jones: NUJ President
Bernie Mullen: Irish Executive Council
Bimpe Archer: Irish Executive Council
Gerry Carson: Irish Executive Council
Kathryn Johnson: Irish Executive Council
Anton McCabe: National Executive Council
Ciarán O Maoláin: National Executive Council

2020-05-20 09:16:47 +0100

WAN: IFRA (World Association of News Publishers)
World Editors Forum
Anthony Bellanger: General Secretary, International Federation of Journalists
Younes M’Jahed: President, International Federation of Journalists
Ian Murray: Executive Director, UK Society of Editors

2020-05-20 09:16:39 +0100

Arlene Foster: Fermanagh and South Tyrone, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and First Minister of Northern Ireland
Michelle O'Neill: Mid Ulster, Sinn FĂ©in, Deputy First Minister
Alex Maskey: Speaker, NI Assembly