Amnesty International Warns Of Press Freedom Threat in Northern Ireland

Amnesty International has warned of a grave threat to press freedom in Northern Ireland through intimidation of journalists, after a reporter was sent a threat to rape her young child.

Patricia Devlin, who works for the Sunday World, has previously received multiple death threats and other threats of violence, has been sent via Facebook this Friday a new threat to rape her young child.

Last year, Ms Devlin lodged an official complaint with the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland over a police failure to investigate a previous threat to rape her newborn son. The outcome of that investigation is pending, the News Letter reported.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International UK, said: “This latest threat sent to Patricia Devlin is totally abhorrent and part of a wider climate of intimidation and violence which is undermining press freedom in Northern Ireland.

“Amnesty International has been watching with increasing concern the constant stream of threats being received by journalists in Northern Ireland, designed to shut down press scrutiny of criminal and paramilitary activity.”

He continued: “The dismal failure of the PSNI to properly investigate a previous complaint to rape her baby is simply unacceptable.

“Impunity breeds contempt for the law and emboldens those who want to intimidate journalists. The police must demonstrate that they take the threats seriously and start bringing these criminals to account.”