Sunday World editor threatened by UDA
The unionist paramilitary UDA has threatened Jim McDowell, the
northern editor of the Sunday tabloid the Sunday World, and his
The UDA in the past two weeks has called for a boycott of the
Sunday World newspaper, claiming its editorials are pursuing an
The threats came after the loyalist commission, a body made up of
members of Protestant paramilitaries, politicians and clergymen,
endorsed the boycott.
McDowell said the PSNI police warned him in the past week that he
and his family were under threat from one of the so called UDA
brigadiers and a number of newsagents were warned by the UDA not
to sell the paper.
Last week, McDowell confronted members of the loyalist commission
as they left PSNI headquarters in Belfast after meeting with PSNI
boss Hugh Orde. McDowell demanded to know what they had to say
about the threats against his family and the Sunday World paper,
but members of the commission refused to comment.
Commission chair, the Rev Mervyn Gibson, later said they had not
instigated the boycott but it had been called by an organisation
and the commission was then asked to endorse it. " We condemn any
threats against an individual, but refuse to withdraw our support
for the boycott campaign," he said.
Jim McDowell described UDA claims about the paper as lies and
said he would not be forced out of the North and neither would
the paper change its editorial policies. "Freedom of the press
and freedom of speech are two cornerstones of a free society and
I am not going to be bullied by these fascist tactics," he vowed.
The National Union of Journalists said the threat was "another
attack on the media in the North" and called on the UDA to remove
The Sunday World has been targeted by unionist paramilitaries on
many occasions in the past. In September 2001, Martin O'Hagan a
reporter with the paper, was shot dead near his Lurgan home by
members of the LVF.
Meanwhile, Paul Turtle, a 15-year-old schoolboy and the child of
a mixed marriage, suffered a broken nose and bruising when he was
attacked by crowd of loyalists as he was walking to St Malachy's
School in Antrim Town on Friday 28 March.
The gang shouted sectarian abuse as they assaulted him.
Jacqueline Turtle said her son had been singled out because he
had Catholic friends and lived in the nationalist Rathenraw
estate in the town.
"He was going to school when the crowd started beating him and
calling him a Fenian lover," she said. "The doctors at the
hospital said his nose was broken and he has a sore cheekbone
where they punched him. He was very lucky he didn't receive a
serious eye injury as his glasses had been smashed."
The schoolboy is very worried about his safety as he spent two
days in hospital last year after he received a death threat from
the UVF. Ironically, the family moved to St Malachy's as a result
of sectarian attacks and abuse elsewhere.
"It's at the stage he is scared to go out on his own and if he is
going into Antrim town centre he wants an adult to go with him,"
said his mother.
Sinn Fein South Antrim councillor Martin Meehan said Sinn Fein
has been working on the ground for some time now to put an end to
these sectarian attacks. "They have to stop now before it is too
late and someone is killed."