Journalist 'threatened by UDA'

A loyalist group in Belfast has denied making a death threat against a journalist.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said the warning had been issued by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

But a spokesman for the Ulster Political Research Group, which advises the paramilitary organisation, said: "We consider anybody getting threatened to be absolutely not right and we are totally against any threats against any journalist."

The journalist's name has not been released but the NUJ has appealed to anyone with influence with the UDA to have the threat withdrawn.

The Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt, a former television journalist, said the threat was "totally unacceptable and must be condemned unequivocally".

He called on the UDA leadership to state if the threat was officially sanctioned by the organisation and if so, to withdraw it.

The UDA is the largest of Northern Ireland's paramilitary groups. It announced a ceasefire in October 1994 but has since undergone a series of feuds and splits.