Belfast Telegraph

BBC reporter Magee's thanks after Belfast paedophile hunter group's Facebook rant - investigation to be screened

BBC reporter Kevin Magee thanked all those who supported him after he was confronted by an angry mob of so-called paedophile hunters during his investigation into their activities.

The BBC has confirmed it is to screen his investigation which led to the angry scene in Belfast last week.

Broadcaster Magee was confronted by a group of self-proclaimed paedophile hunters last Tuesday evening in a Belfast coffee shop. It appeared they were angry after he attempted to interview one of them earlier.

The group broadcast the confrontation live of Facebook. One of the men was furious, apparently after Mr Magee had visited his home for an interview about the activities of groups that hunt sex offenders.

There is no suggestion Mr Magee has done anything wrong.

During the video, one man asks Mr Magee: "How does it feel to be confronted? You don't like this, Kevin, do you?"

"This is what you call power."

The footage was viewed around 100,000 times before it was taken down by the group.

The expletive-ridden rant at the senior BBC journalist was condemned as an "attack on media freedom".

The BBC is to screen Mr Magee's investigation on Tuesday night's main 6.30pm Newsline programme.

"Thanks to everyone who sent me messages last week. Much appreciated," tweeted the journalist.

In a plug for the investigation, Mr Magee can be seen confronting members of the groups.

The PSNI said it would review the footage of the incident to establish whether any offences were committed.

The BBC confirmed an incident had taken place saying it could not comment further.

Ian Murray, director of the Society of Editors, said every citizen had the right to question a journalist, but no one had the right to do so in such a manner.

"There is a world of difference between his approach as a professional journalist working for the BBC who had to follow strict guidelines, and what appears to be a small, determined vocal and aggressive mob who were harassing him in the street," Mr Murray said.

"It is beholden on journalists to ensure that all reports are balanced and attempting to put both sides of a story.

"If Kevin Magee was putting together a report on paedophile hunters in Northern Ireland, surely they would have been just as upset if he had not attempted to approach them to put their side of the story of what they were doing and why they were doing it?"

The National Union of Journalists also offered its support.

Seamus Dooley, NUJ Irish secretary described Kevin Magee as a journalist of the "highest integrity".

"He was abused and intimidated while carrying out a legitimate news investigation in the public interest," he said.

"No group is above the law and there is no place in a democratic society for vigilante groups, regardless of their motives. This attack is an attack on media freedom and must be condemned in the strongest manner."

Footage shared online shows BBC journalist Kevin Magee being angrily confronted in a coffee shop
Footage shared online shows BBC journalist Kevin Magee being angrily confronted in a coffee shop
Footage shared online shows BBC journalist Kevin Magee being angrily confronted in a coffee shop

Belfast Telegraph


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