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Category Archives: Belfast
A reporter in Northern Ireland had to be escorted from court by security guards last week after suffering abuse from a gang of protesters.
Allison Morris, who works for the Irish News, was called a “Fenian bastard” and a “Fenian cunt” by demonstrators who also threatened to cut her throat.
During the hearing of a case at Belfast magistrates’ court on 27 February, which involved a man accused of assaulting two police officers, Morris was also approached by a protester who sought to intimidate her.
Other intimidating gestures had previously been made towards the press box by protesters sitting in the public gallery.
The National Union of Journalists has condemned the treatment of Morris, an award-winning reporter. Séamus Dooley, the NUJ’s Irish secretary, said: “The court service must examine this incident. Court reporters must be allowed to do their work without threats.
“On this occasion, intimidating gestures were made towards the press box during the court case, a journalist was abused and eventually had to be escorted out of the building by security staff.
“Without the security staff the situation could have been much worse. It was a terrifying experience and one no court reporter should have to ensure.”
And the NUJ president, Barry McCall, called it a “completely unacceptable” incident that amounted to “a threat to the principle of open democracy.”
He said: “The media must be free to report on the courts without fear of violence or intimidation. Any attempt to undermine that right is an attempt to undermine the principles which underpin the judicial system.”
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