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October 17, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 8:28am

Local editor warns readers he may call police over threats to journalists in comments

By Freddy Mayhew

The editor of a local news website has warned readers that comments “threatening violence” against journalists may be reported to the police in future.

Michael Casey (pictured), who edits Your Harlow, issued the warning in an editorial after a comment under a crime story on the site’s Facebook page said “journalists should be hanged for slander”.

He said: “These are not anonymised comments. People in their own names are going on to social media and threatening violence.

“Let us keep this simple. Stop it. It is a criminal act and you may find yourself reported to the police.”

Casey, 57, who also runs news website Your Thurrock and is the only editorial staffer for both sites, said the use of aggressive and violent language was part of a growing trend.

He told Press Gazette it had gotten worse over the last four to five months and said he wrote the article because he believed it was important to highlight that it was happening and that it was “wrong”.

The comments were often made under crime and court stories posted to social media, he said.

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He told Press Gazette: “I think many people airbrush their lives on Facebook and you come along and smash it to pieces reporting the facts.

“But I’m going to continue to report the facts and there you have it. It may end up with that [reporting to police] but I really would not want to do that.”

He wrote in the blog: “At this point, we are simply blocking and banning but if it is repeated, we shall report it to the police.”

Picture: Michael Casey

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