A regional daily has hit out at anti-lockdown protesters who branded one of its reporters an “infiltrator” and mocked him for wearing a mask.
Jody Doherty-Cove was subjected to abuse while covering a demonstration in Brighton for the city’s daily title The Argus.
Jody, pictured, was broadcasting the protest live on Facebook and was confronted by one demonstrator who told him to remove his mask.
The Argus criticised those at Saturday’s protest who engaged in the abuse in an editorial.
The editorial, published on Monday, reads: “An Argus reporter received abuse from protesters at the anti-lockdown demonstration this weekend because he was wearing a mask.
“Members of the public faced similar taunts as the demonstrators walked through the streets.
“As hundreds watched the event live on Facebook, a protester told our reporter to remove his mask – questioning whether he was an ‘infiltrator’.
“He was one of several that mocked and ridiculed our journalist for wearing a mask at the gathering.”
The Argus went on to note it had “sent a reporter to the protest, not a supporter”.
It added: “We did this so the group which brought city-centre traffic to a standstill had the chance to air their grievances. But, unfortunately, many refused to explain what these were to the public when offered the opportunity.
“The actions of these individuals are a disservice to those on the march who sincerely wished to express their view.
“A demonstrator later told The Argus that a protester on another march joined it because he had lost two friends to suicide during lockdown.
“In which case, it is understandable that someone would look for an outlet for their anger in such tragic circumstances.
“But, we guess, for some protesters at least, their calls for freedom do not extend to the freedom to wear a mask.”
The bizarre allegation was put to Post community reporter Olimpia Zagnat by a demonstrator at a protest outside a coronavirus vaccination centre in Nottingham.
Speaking to HTFP, Jody said: “We will always give both sides a chance to speak – even if they think we’re the ‘lamestream media’ – as that’s what we’re here for.
“Despite the challenges, we managed to speak to some people on the march, who shared all sorts of concerns with coronavirus measures.
“These were reported in the story and we received two emails from marchers thanking us for our coverage. One of those apologised for the fellow marchers who were abusive.
“No one, journalist or not, should experience abuse on their job. But in fact, that live stream shed light on the situation for our readers in many ways.
“It has not put me off doing more live streams as a way to connect with our audience. They’re a fantastic way to engage directly with readers, ask their questions, and promote our journalism online and in print.”