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Far-right group accused of threatening young reporter

A trainee reporter has been told not to go to her newspaper’s offices for her own safety after being threatened by far-right protesters.

Sarah Marshall, a trainee at the Doncaster Free Press, has been falsely accused of ripping up flowers laid at the Sheffield cenotaph in honour of Lee Rigby at an EDL rally in the city six weeks ago.

A picture of her posted was posted on the Casuals United website – which claims to be the home of “peaceful hooligans” – with a message underneath threatening: “If Miss Marshall is not dealt with we will be outside Doncaster Free Press until she is.”

A video has also been posted on the site, highlighting the moment a woman they claim is Sarah throws the flowers, although the National Union of Journalists has denied it was her.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the union pledged its support for Sarah and condemned what they labelled “harassment” of the young journalist.

General secretary Michelle Stanistreet said they believe the threats originated from EDL members.

“This is absolutely disgraceful. These thugs should be sought by the police and prosecuted. The NUJ will not tolerate these serious threats,” she said.

“This harassment of Sarah and other staff on the newspaper must be taken seriously. We are offering Sarah all the support we can.

“This is yet another example of the EDL’s record of targeting the press. We know from experience that the EDL has attacked journalists and its members are capable of following up these threats.

“Attempts to prevent journalists working constitute a serious attack on press freedom and individual liberty – it must be dealt with.”

Last week, the Free Press released a short statement on Twitter announcing it was investigating allegations made against a member of staff.

However it is understood that the investigation has now been completed.

The paper declined to comment further about the allegations when approached by HTFP earlier this week.  It has so far not responded to the NUJ’s statement.

Yorkshire Police has confirmed it is investigating a report of harrassment.

10 comments

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  • July 12, 2013 at 5:06 pm
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    I was verbally and physically threatened by members of the National Front while working as a reporter back in the 1970s. It’s the kind of thing right-wing bullies resort to when they are losing the battle. As a life member of the NUJ, I am proud my union is standing firmly behind Ms Marshall and her colleagues.

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  • July 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm
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    I think this bunch of thugs should be exposed nationally in the press once the young reporter is cleared.
    They seek publicity, give them some.

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  • July 15, 2013 at 11:51 am
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    I notice noone is condemning the discusting act of ripping up flowers from the War Memorial that were laid there as a tribute for Lee Rigby. The EDL deserve to have the NUJ behind them, not against them, in trying to uncover the truth. But we wouldent want that would we?

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  • July 15, 2013 at 7:00 pm
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    The EDL deserve the backing of the NUJ? For threatening to injure/kill/rape a 19 year old woman? Really. The only flowers i see harmed in the video of the pushing match with the police were those that were thrown from the EDL side. The EDL ‘investigation’ is simply a confused attempt at vigilante law. Hmm… A minority attempting to impose their own form of justice? That sounds like something the EDL protest about. They will have to protest against themselves. Preferably at home, to save the taxpayers money from being spent on policing it.

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  • July 16, 2013 at 8:38 am
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    Aidy Shaw, Lincoln

    If you view the video properly, from all angles, not just your rose tinted union funded ones, you will see that the flowers that were placed on the memorial were grabbed and ripped up by a group that I suspect are the UAF. An organization so intenet on denying free speech that they make the EDL look like kittens. The NUJ still hasnt condemed the disgracefull actions of whoever destoryed those flowers, a tribute to a solider killed on our own streets. I wonder why.

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  • July 16, 2013 at 2:24 pm
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    Biller may care to know that this site is primarily aimed at journalists. It’s not that I have anything against the semi-literate community, but don’t they have their own spaces out there on the fringes of cyberspace? Word-shaped letter formations like noone, discusting, wouldent, intenet, hasnt, disgracefull and destoryed are unfamiliar to those of us who can read and write English.

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  • July 17, 2013 at 9:43 am
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    exypbusinesshack

    This thread is about the disgusting actions of someone ripping up flowers from a soilder killed on our own streets, not my spelling. If your trying to say that beacuse i’m not a journalist I can’t comment on here then that just backs up what point im trying to make. People have a go at the EDL but its people like yourselfs and the UAF who have the issues about freedom of speech. The UAF have their roots firmly placed in not letting anyone that disagrees with them speeking – hence the reason they bombard the BBC with calls when they have Tommy Robinson on. Freedom of speech?

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  • July 17, 2013 at 11:02 am
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    Biller – Why would a union set up to protect journalists launch an investigation into someone throwing some flowers?

    The union’s only connection to the story is that it is representing the journalist wrongly accused of throwing the flowers. Its stake in this case is the journalist – because it is a journalists’ union.

    Maybe the National Union of Florists would be more interested in your ranting.

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