Patricia Devlin was at home in Northern Ireland when the police arrived with a stark message: there was an immediate threat to her life from members of the outlawed Ulster Defence Association, a pro-British faction linked to the criminal underworld.
“I was told that a UDA group had planned an imminent attack on me and that they were in possession of firearms and pipe bombs,” said Ms Devlin, a journalist at the Sunday World newspaper who reports on paramilitary crime in the UK region and has been threatened in the past.
“Within 12 hours, police were back at my house again to say they had received further intelligence that west Belfast UDA planned to shoot me and that the shooting would take place in Belfast city centre in the next day or two,” she added.
The threats against Ms Devlin were the latest in an escalating cycle of paramilitary intimidation against journalists in Northern Ireland reporting on organised crime and criminality.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based group that promotes press freedom, said it has been monitoring the situation and documenting incidents.
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