Saoradh concern as ‘Press’ camera crew joins PSNI raid

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Saoradh has raised a number of questions after members of the media appeared to pro-actively take part in a PSNI police raid on the homes of republicans in Derry last week.

The homes of Saoradh activists were targeted by PSNI who they claimed had “colluded with an overzealous media to intensify the hype”.

Several homes were the subject of the raids by armed PSNI, which Saoradh said are now “an almost daily feature of life.”

“The difference this time was one of the armoured land rovers in the Crown Force convoy carried a film crew in civilian clothing and body armour with press markings.

“The crew took part in the home invasions and were clearly complicit in the attacks on republican families.”

They asked several questions about those wearing ‘Press’ bibs: “Were these individuals members of the ‘Press’? If so, which organisation where they working for? What is the footage from this invasion to be used for? Where will the recordings be stored? Who has access to the footage? Who informed them of the raids? And what, if any, briefing were they given?

“Given the history of collusion between British Crown Forces and shadowy loyalist death squads, it is imperative that these questions are answered.”

Saoradh said the incident called into question the supposed impartiality and objectivity of the media and “could endanger” members of the press in the future. They called on the NUJ to investigate the incident and expel any of their members found to have engaged in this mornings attack. The families affected by “media-assisted raids” had a human right to privacy, they said, and deserved answers.

However, the response by the National Union of Journalists was dismissive and hostile. NUJ Irish Secretary Seamus Dooley said Saoradh was being “arrogant”.

Mr Dooley referred to the death last month of Lyra McKee amid heavy rioting in Derry. The young journalist was standing beside a PSNI armoured vehicle when she was fatally wounded by a shot fired at the vehicle by the ‘New IRA’.

“The NUJ will not be lectured on ethics by Saoradh”, he said. NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet added: “If there are legitimate complaints about policing these can be investigated by the appropriate authorities.”

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