VIENNA, 8 January 2013 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, said today she was concerned about the recent attacks and threats against journalists in Northern Ireland and urged the authorities to unequivocally condemn them.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland intercepted a letter with a bullet last weekend addressed to a well-known Belfast journalist who was reporting on loyalist rioting in the city.
“This is a direct threat to all journalists working in Northern Ireland. In December I raised several other cases of attacks against journalists with the UK government. I am dismayed by this latest incident, which I hope will be swiftly investigated,” said Mijatović.
On 14 December, press photographer Mark Pearce was targeted in an overnight pipe bomb attack on his home in County Down. The journalist and his family were quickly evacuated and were not injured.
On 17 December, Adrian Rutherford, a Belfast Telegraph reporter, was attacked and robbed by a masked gang while covering loyalist protests in East Belfast.
Mijatović also said that she commended the swift action of the UK authorities on these cases.
“I urge the relevant authorities in the United Kingdom to do their utmost to investigate and prevent attacks and intimidation of journalists,” said Mijatović.