Belfast Telegraph

National Union of Journalists in split over Jamie Bryson support

The Belfast Branch of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has said they will offer no support to loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson, despite his membership of the organisation.

Mr Bryson, who writes on his 'Unionist Voice' blog, is currently a temporary member of the NUJ.

He was arrested last Thursday following Paramilitary Crime Task Force and Security Industry Authority (SIA) searches in Ards and North Down.

The PSNI said the arrest was part of an ongoing investigation into criminality linked to the east Belfast UVF, a claim Mr Bryson denies.

Mr Bryson was held on suspicion of unlawfully supplying door staff and denies any wrongdoing.

He said that during the searches police confiscated a number of laptops that contained "journalistic materials" and that these could not be opened due to "journalistic privilege".

Mr Bryson said that the only way police could gain access to the materials would be through an independent counsel which he would be willing to challenge.

The Secretary of the Belfast and District NUJ Branch Ciaran O Maolain said that the branch would not be offering Mr Bryson any help or support.

"The Branch does not regard Bryson as a journalist, has no intention of supporting his claim to journalistic privilege or otherwise assisting him in any way," he said.

However, NUJ Assistant General Secretary Seamus Dooley said that Mr Bryson would be treated the same as any other member.

"If an application for support or assistance is received from Jamie Bryson it will be considered in the normal way," he said.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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