World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - Ireland, 11 November 2014

Protest Campaign - Ireland, 11 November 2014

Article ID:


Mr. Gerry Adams,
Sinn Féin,
44 Parnell Square,
Dublin 1

Fax: (353) 1 8733441


11 November 2014


Dear Mr Adams,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum (WEF), which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at your comments making light of violence against journalists.

According to reports, at a fundraising dinner in New York last week, you joked about holding editors at gunpoint and criticised journalists who have sought to expose the involvement of Provisional IRA members in the cover up of a rape.

Referring to how Michael Collins dealt with a critical press, you said: “He went in, sent volunteers in, to the offices, held the editor at gun point and destroyed the entire printing press. That’s what he did. Now I can just see the headline in the Independent tomorrow, I’m obviously not advocating that…”. You repeated the remark in a blogpost on 7 November but omitted the final qualification.

We are seriously concerned that this remark may be viewed as a veiled threat against Independent News & Media journalists and editors, whom you have criticised for investigating the Mairia Cahill rape scandal. At best, it is highly insensitive. Two Independent News & Media journalists have been murdered in the past 20 years: Veronica Guerin was shot dead in Dublin because of her reporting on criminal operations in 1996; and Martin O'Hagan was murdered in Northern Ireland by the Loyalist Volunteer Force in 2001.

We respectfully remind you that even a facetious reference to attacking journalists is entirely inappropriate. So far this year, 42 journalists have been killed while carrying out their profession. The global campaign against impunity for those who attack journalists and others for exercising their right to freedom of expression is marked by the UN-designated International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on 2 November, only a matter of days before you made your remarks.

We respectfully call on you to retract these comments and to publicly affirm your abhorrence of all forms of violence against journalists.


We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.


Yours sincerely,


Tomas Brunegård
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Erik Bjerager
World Editors Forum


WAN-IFRA is the global organization for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organization groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2014-11-11 16:54

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...