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PSNI warning Loyalist terror gang issue threats against two Sunday World journalists

Niall Donald

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The NUJ in Ireland has said attempts to intimidate journalists must be condemned after two Sunday World reporters were warned by the police of a series of "imminent threats."

The PSNI say they are taking the matter very seriously and have warned the journalists affected to be vigilant at home and when travelling.

One NUJ member was contacted in the middle of the night by the police and alerted to a threat of attack by criminals and loyalist paramilitaries, linked to the West Belfast Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

The other journalist has been issued with a shoot-to-kill threat and is also at risk of entrapment and attack.

The threats come after another journalist from the Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life was warned during the week of an imminent threat from a loyalist gang.

Seamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, said the protection of journalists and the active pursuit of those who threaten the media is essential to a functioning democratic society.

"Once again NUJ members have received serious threats from loyalist paramilitaries and criminals intent on silencing journalism in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“We welcome the fact that the journalists concerned have received the full support of their employer. The PSNI is fully engaged with both journalists and we hope that every effort will be made to ensure the continued safety of our members, their families and their colleagues."

It has been established that those involved in issuing the threats against the journalists have carried out recent acts of serious violence.

The Editor of the Sunday World, Brian Farrell, has condemned the threats saying:

"it is appalling that our journalists are being threatened as they go about their work.

"While these threats are shocking and abhorrent, they will not deter us from doing our job.

"It is vital for a functioning society that we continue to expose criminality within our community."

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