Police in Northern Ireland have intercepted a letter containing a bullet addressed to a Belfast-based journalist, according to the National Union of Journalists.
The journalist, who was not named by the union, was told by the Police Service of Northern Ireland that the letter was intercepted at the weekend following his reporting of Loyalist rioting in Belfast.
NUJ president Barry McCall described the letter as “the latest in a series of despicable attempts to intimidate journalists in Northern Ireland”.
He said in a statement:
This is a despicable attempt to intimidate journalists working in extremely difficult circumstances.
The posting of a bullet to a newspaper, addressed to a named journalist, represents an attack on journalism and on democracy.
This incident must be seen in the context of recent attacks on journalists and elected public representatives and should be condemned by all who support the democratic process.
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet added:
Employers and journalists – staff and freelance, need to be alert to the very real dangers which arise when covering conflict situations.
The lack of respect for the rights of journalists to work unimpeded present a particular challenge.
The bullet sent in the post was clearly indeed [sic] to send a signal to the media. Over many years journalists have stood firm in the face of intimidation and they continue to do so.