The National Union of Journalists has condemned an attack on a journalist in Northern Ireland. Adrian Rutherford, a Belfast Telegraph reporter, was attacked and robbed by a masked gang while covering loyalist protests in East Belfast on Monday (17 December).
Séamus Dooley, the NUJ’s Irish secretary, said the assault was the latest in a series of attacks on journalists in Northern Ireland.
“This is an extremely worrying development,” he said. “Attacks of this type against reporters and photographers represent an attack on democracy, in the same way as attacks and threats against elected public representatives strike at the heart of democracy.
“No one disputes the right of citizens or groups to engage in legitimate protests but recent days have been marked by unacceptable behaviour which seeks to intimidate and terrorise innocent people going about their work in the public interest.
“I would appeal to all those in positions of influence to unite against this type of behaviour and to work towards creating a safe environment for all communities.”
The attack on Rutherford has also been condemned by the union’s Belfast branch. Its statement referred to “a growing catalogue of attacks and threats to journalists”.
On Friday (14 December) a pipe bomb was left at the door of photographer Mark Pearce at Mayobridge, near Newry, Co Down.