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.