A death threat, linked to an ongoing murder investigation, has been received by an Irish News journalist in Belfast, it has emerged.
Séamus Dooley, NUJ Irish secretary, said in a statement: “This latest death threat issued against an Irish News journalist is a sinister development. There is a need for independent, fearless journalism in Northern Ireland and, in the current climate, we regard the death threat as especially worrying.
“Journalists must be allowed to work in the public interest without intimidation. There is an obligation on those in positions of influence to work to ensure that reporters, photographers and editors are able to operate without risk or threat from any quarter. Journalists in Northern Ireland will not be deterred by such threats."
He continued: "Such threats have no place in a democratic society and should be condemned by all public representatives. Hostility towards the media is nothing new in Northern Ireland and NUJ members are well used to dealing with abuse and intimidation. No journalist should be subjected to any form of threat. The chilling nature of this particular threat is of grave concern."
The name of the journalist and the details of the threat, which was made last Friday, have not been released for security reasons, the NUJ said.
Irish News editor Noel Doran said in a statement: "We are taking this development very seriously and the police are fully aware of our concerns. A threat against a highly respected colleague is deplorable and all attempts to undermine press freedom must be firmly resisted whenever and wherever they emerge."