Northern Ireland

Graffiti targeting Irish News journalist Allison Morris widely condemned

Sinister graffiti targeting Irish News journalist Allison Morris in north Belfast
Sinister graffiti targeting Irish News journalist Allison Morris in north Belfast

THERE has been widespread condemnation of threatening graffiti targeting Irish News journalist Allison Morris.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) last night said such incidents were becoming "all too common" and were too often singling out female reporters.

The graffiti is understood to have appeared overnight on a wall in Rosapenna Street, off the Oldpark Road in north Belfast.

The Irish News' award-winning security correspondent has previously been the target of paramilitary death threats.

Earlier this month, Sunday World journalist Patricia Devlin was the subject of similarly sinister graffiti.

Irish News editor Noel Doran said: "We condemn the attempt to intimidate our colleague Allison Morris which will not succeed, and we stand with Allison and all other journalists who have faced similarly despicable threats."

Chair of the NUJ Belfast branch Robin Wilson said the graffiti was "yet another example of journalists suffering totally unacceptable intimidation".

"We in the union have dealt with a raft of recent cases of this manner and we will not accept it becoming normal in the way it once was," he said.

Mr Wilson said female reporters appeared to be disproportionately targeted by sinister groups.

"There's always been an element of male domination and macho behaviour in paramilitary groups and we're particularly conscious of the fact that threats against women in the media are all too common," he said.

"We in the NUJ stand shoulder to shoulder with our female colleagues."

He welcomed a commitment by the assembly's all-party group on press freedom to write to the chief constable seeking an urgent update on how threats against journalists are being dealt with.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill tweeted: "I see that more hate filled graffiti has been sprayed on walls targeting another female journalist.

"If only these brave misogynistic artists had an ounce of the courage of Allison Morris and Patricia Devlin, and every other woman going about her job."

SDLP MLA Matthew O'Toole, chair of the all-party group on press freedom, said: "Something has gone badly wrong in this society when repeated threats of violence against reporters- especially female reporters - has become normalised.

"It is utterly unacceptable in any democracy."