Union chief targetedby racists' hate-mail

Letter to Dear, above left, follows anti-BNP demo

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear has been targeted by farright extremists in a hate-mail campaign that has culminated in a threat being sent to his home.

The union leader contacted police this week after a letter arrived at his London home stating: “We know all about you and your scum friends and will act on that information. Be warned.”

The threatening letter referred to “hypocritical reds and lying journalists” and said: “We’ll save our nation from your red lies and your hatred of the white working class.”

It contained a picture of Dear at an anti-British National Party demonstration and follows a barrage of phone calls and e-mails sent to his office from far-right groups.

Dear has decided to go public after being advised that this is the best way to counter the extremists. He told Press Gazette: “I have talked to people who have been in the same situation and they’ve told me the best thing I can do is make these threats as public as possible. The more you spotlight them the less likely it is that they will do anything, and if they know they are being watched there shouldn’t be any further threats or intimidation.”

The threats, e-mails and phone calls have built up since the BNP held a demo outside the NUJ’s London HQ in February. The BNP aimed its protest at what it called “politically correct” journalists with “an antwhite bias”.

The union held a counter-demo in which Dear denounced the BNP. He has spoken at several anti-racist rallies since then and recently wrote an article in Tribune saying journalists should not be intimidated by the BNP. He said: “There’s been an increasing number of e-mails and phone calls since the demo. Talking to anti-racists and journalists who have been threatened by the far right, it is nearly always your work address they target, but somehow they have got my home address. I’ve contacted the police and shown them a selection of the stuff I’ve been sent.”

One persistent e-mailer has sent Dear a BNP membership form. A picture of him speaking at the counter-demo has also appeared on the right-wing Red Watch website. Many of the e-mails accuse journalists of being biased and liars.

Dear added: “I am concerned that somebody who is as clearly deranged as the person who has written to me has my home address. The most important thing is that journalists continue to investigate the activities of far-right organisations and continue to expose them.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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