UDA denies making death threat to journalist
THE NATIONAL Unionist of Journalists has given a “guarded welcome” to a statement by the UDA denying it issued a death threat against a Belfast journalist.
The loyalist paramilitary organisation issued its denial yesterday after the union said the Police Service of Northern Ireland was taking the threat seriously.
The name of the journalist was not formally disclosed but graffiti with his name and mobile phone number has been daubed on walls in areas of the city. The journalist has faced similar threats in the past.
The NUJ’s Irish secretary, Seamus Dooley, initially appealed to politicians and others who may have influence with the UDA to have the threat withdrawn.
“This represents the latest threat to this journalist and is part of a sinister campaign which must be condemned,” he said.
The UDA denied there was a threat and insisted it respected “the freedom of the press and the right of all journalists to carry out and pursue their profession free from intimidation or threat”.
The Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG), which has links to the UDA, also said journalists must be free to do their work.
Later, Mr Dooley and NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet gave a “guarded welcome” to the UDA response and said they were available to meet the UPRG to discuss their concerns.
In 2001, the LVF loyalist paramilitary group murdered Sunday World journalist Martin O’Hagan, while the Northern editor of the same newspaper, Jim Campbell, was badly wounded in a UVF shooting in 1984.