NUJ member in hiding after receiving far right death threats
Amy Fenton being interviewed in Washington DC. Image © NUJ
The NUJ has condemned death threats made towards reporter Amy Fenton, who has been forced to go into hiding with police protection.
The chief reporter for local newspaper The Mail in Barrow has received more than 100 threats since reporting on allegations of child abuse by an Asian grooming gang. A year-long investigation by Cumbria Police found no evidence to substantiate the allegations.
A 19-year-old woman has been charged with seven counts of perverting the court of justice over false allegations of rape between 2017 and 2020.
understands many of the newspaper’s journalists have received death threats, but Amy Fenton has been the main target after followers of EDL founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – who calls himself Tommy Robinson and attended a rally in Barrow on Monday – piled in, claiming the investigation was a police/media cover-up.
NUJ northern regional organiser Chris Morley said: “Amy is a union member and a journalist working for a local newspaper. She has been following basic journalistic standards on reporting allegations and court proceedings.
“The local newspaper she works for is an essential part of the local community. It is not expected that everyone should agree with all opinions or news reports but what is expected is that journalists’ safety, well-being and the life of their family should never be threatened.”
Amy Fenton said: “Over the last week I’ve received in excess of 100 death threats and threats of unlawful violence – and there have been countless more which have been reported directly to the police by my colleagues.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve been subjected to vile abuse simply for doing my job, and for reporting the facts as the law dictates and as any qualified, experienced senior reporter would, but the extent and relentless barrage of coordinated abuse is unprecedented.
“While it isn’t the first time this has happened to me I’m determined that it will be last, by ensuring each and every one of these people faces the full force of the law.
“Not only have they threatened to ‘throat punch’ me, slit my throat, and set me on fire, but they have involved the welfare of my little girl and that is beyond acceptable. As a journalist I won’t tolerate anyone threatening me but as a mum I won’t tolerate anyone putting my daughter’s life at risk.
“But out of this there have also been so many examples of the best side of society – offers of support from so many people, and I’m also incredibly grateful for the way my colleagues, my bosses and employers, the NUJ, and reporters across the industry have ‘had my back’ and reminded me that this abuse comes from a small, ignorant minority of people who have no understanding of the way our constitutional judicial system works.”
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