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Film-maker Seán Murray alleges 'prominent journalists' were involved in 'smear campaign' against him

Documentary film maker Seán Murray. Picture by Liam McBurney, Press Association

BELFAST film-maker Seán Murray has alleged he was targeted in a "smear campaign" by "two other very prominent journalists" after he was trolled by an anonymous Twitter account linked to former Sunday Independent columnist Eoghan Harris.

Mr Murray, who directed Unquiet Graves, a documentary on the loyalist Glenanne Gang, is considering legal action over derogatory comments made by a Twitter account under the name of Barbara J Pym, after the late English novelist.

Twitter has suspended the account, linked to Mr Harris, along with several others.

Mr Harris's contract with the Sunday newspaper was terminated last week.

A fierce critic of Sinn Féin, he said he was among six people involved in running the Barbara J Pym account.

Mr Murray told The Irish News yesterday he had been targeted by two other journalists, as well as the account linked to Mr Harris, but could not reveal their names due to possible legal action.

"I've been targeted by up to 100 accounts," he said.

"I don't take much notice but I can see when it's contrived and I can put the dots together and it becomes more sinister.

"Some of the bot accounts throw a lot of stuff out there but they come and go. I can see when there's a contrived campaign between other people and it's well organised. One of those was the Barbara Pym account.

"Some of the other ones who were suspended also targeted me."

Mr Murray said he believed there was a campaign to stop his documentary from going into cinemas and being broadcast on television.

He said that he felt compelled to take legal action following the revelations about Mr Harris.

Although he had tried to ignore "very, very stressful" social media attacks, he said "there have been times when I've contemplated just coming off social media altogether".

"It just wasn't helping my work."

Mr Murray said he had received several "sinister" messages online.

"This goes right back to the start of me filming Unquiet Graves.

"The police came to my house and told me there was a death threat. But also the whole way through the filming I got some very, very sinister direct messages and messages through Twitter."

He added that he did not want to cancel his social media accounts because they helped him engage with his audience.

"There are a lot of victims and survivors on Twitter and dealing with them on a platform which is immediate is very cathartic for them and also for me," he said.

Mr Murray is completing work on a documentary about British scientist David Kelly.

Mr Kelly died in July 2003 after he was identified as the source for a controversial BBC report which cast doubt on the government's claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction capable of being deployed within 45 minutes.

The film is due to be released in selected cinemas on July 17.

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