Wednesday, 22 June 2011

PA photographer shot covering east Belfast riots

A Press Association photographer was injured in a shooting as rioting erupted for a second night in east Belfast, reports the Belfast Telegraph.

It says: "Three shots were fired during the disturbances around the Short Strand area of east Belfast, which has seen its most serious rioting for several years.

"The Press Association photographer, who was covering the violence, suffered an injury to the leg and was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where he was said to be in a stable condition."

The Times has named the shot photographer as Niall Carson.

BBC Northern Ireland quotes another photographer who was with other media on the Lower Newtownards Road when the shooting happened.

He said: "I looked back and there was somebody peering over the wall and he shot about five or six rounds," he said. "We were all just running. The next thing I know a colleague of mine, he yells, 'I've been shot, I've been shot', and I looked back and his leg on the bottom part, I don't know if he was grazed, or if the bullet went in or what, but I looked at his trousers and his trousers were all stained. It was wet, it was obviously blood."

The BBC says police appealed for all media to stay out of east Belfast "for their own safety".

Update: The NUJ has strongly condemned the shooting of Niall Carson, who is a member of the union.

NUJ Irish secretary Séamus Dooley said the shooting represents an attack on the media in Northern Ireland and was “an extremely worrying development”. He added: “Niall Carson was injured while doing his job. It is vital that journalists should be allowed to carry out their duties without fear of attack from any quarter. This incident is part of a sinister assault on the people of Northern Ireland. The riots of the past two days represent a wider attack on the community, who have a right to live in peace. Our thoughts are with all those who have suffered as a result of the riots over the past 48 hours”.

NUJ general secretary-elect Michelle Stanistreet said: "This shooting is a sharp reminder of the dangers faced by media workers in conflict situations. Journalists and their employers must be mindful of the safety implications of covering conflict situations, while there is also a responsibility on the police to ensure that the media are allowed to carry out their duties in the public interest”.

  • Sky News reports police in Northern Ireland have blamed dissident republicans for the gunfire during the rioting.

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