An international journalism association has hit out at comments made by Gerry Adams where he made light of the fact a gun was held to the head of a newspaper editor.
The World Association of Newspaper and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) said they are “seriously concerned” about the remark.
In a letter addressed to Mr Adams, WAN-IFRA said they were writing on the behalf of the World Editors Forum, two groups which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies. They said the comments “make light of violence against journalists” and could be considered a "veiled threat".
Mr Adams made the remark at a dinner in New York last week. He repeated them on his blog.
He wrote: “When the Irish Independent condemned his actions as ‘murder most foul’, what did Michael Collins do? He dispatched his men to the office of the Independent and held the editor at gunpoint as they dismantled the entire printing machinery and destroyed it”.
Vincent Crowley, chairman of the National Newspapers of Ireland, said the comments demonstrated a “lack of understanding of the important role a free press plays in democracy”.
Meanwhile, the family of journalist Veronica Guerin, who was shot dead on June 25, 1996, spoke about the “inappropriate” nature of the comments.
Her brother Jimmy said: “For any political leader to make these remarks in jest is totally improper and deeply insensitive. It shows a deep sense of disrespect for the freedom of the press.”
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the comments were “not a threat of any shape, make or form”.
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