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Journalist couple threatened at home after far-right exposé

Jason CridlandA journalist couple were threatened by people who turned up at their home after they investigated far-right activity on their patch.

Jason and Deb Cridland, who run independent news website Dorset Eye, were targeted with physical threats and online abuse after they ran a story about ‘No To The Barge’, a Facebook group launched in opposition to the Bibby Stockholm asylum seeker detention centre in Portland Port.

According to the National Union of Journalists, the pair have since been subjected to “online trolling and relentless phone calls”, as well as in incident in which two individuals allegedly threatened them at their address in Weymouth.

Examples of the abuse include one post on Facebook branding Jason, pictured, as “one sick paedo”, while another critic said he was “going to [Jason’s] address shortly with a friend”. The incidents have been reported to Dorset Police.

The article which prompted the abuse examined how a section of the Dorset community had been “radicalised into racism and hatred” following the Government’s decision to house hundreds of asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm.

It listed offensive posts by NTTB members on Facebook page such as:  “I want to see a weekly migrant victim death count just like we did with Covid. What are the shops going to do when the attacks, rapes and murders begin?”

Another poster claimed the migrants were “foot soldiers waiting for the call from Islam,” while another wrote “for all we know they could have been chopping off heads a few months ago”.

It also detailed growing links between NTTB and far-right groups such as Patriotic Alternative, Voice of Wales and Britain First.

NUJ South-West England branch chair James Garrett said: “We stand alongside Dorset Eye’s journalists and will fight, without wavering, for the freedom to report on matters of public interest.”

“We call on Dorset Police to take seriously the threats to the Eye’s journalists and take action against those who are seeking to shut down their attempts to investigate racial hatred.”

In a further statement, the branch said: “The South-West England branch of the National Union of Journalists, which represents working journalists in the region, has expressed support for colleagues in Dorset who are facing online abuse and physical threats after exposing supporters of the far right.

“Jason and Deb Cridland, who run the online news site Dorset Eye, called the police after being threatened by people who turned up at their home in Weymouth. The abuse they reported to Dorset Police has also included online trolling and relentless phone calls.”

HTFP has approached both Dorset Eye and Dorset Police for a comment.