September 27, 2017

RSF condemns threats against BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg

Reporters Without Borders - known internationally as Reporters sans frontières (RSF) - condemns reports of threats against BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg. Reports have emerged that Kuenssberg has been assigned bodyguards to protect her whilst covering the Labour party conference currently taking place in Brighton.

Since last year, Kuenssberg - the BBC’s first female political editor - has faced a torrent of online abuse and threats linked to her reporting on events such as the EU referendum and the Labour party leadership election. She has been accused of partiality in her coverage, and subjected to a petition circulated by Labour supporters calling for the BBC to dismiss her that gathered more than 35,000 signatures before being taken down.

“Violence against journalists is unacceptable in any form, and the increase in online threats against female journalists around the world is nothing short of alarming. These latest reports of threats against Laura Kuenssberg must be taken very seriously. It is appalling that a respected journalist cannot safely cover a political party conference, and sends a worrying signal about the state of press freedom in the UK, which must urgently be addressed,” said RSF UK Bureau Director Rebecca Vincent.

The threats against Kuenssberg take place in the context of a worrying trend of moves against press freedom in the UK, including a growing climate of hostility expressed by public officials towards the media. In May, RSF called on all political parties to respect press freedom in their campaigning for the 8th June General Election, including the Labour party, which had barred journalists' access to campaign events.

The UK is currently ranked 40th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

Press contact: Rebecca Vincent at [email protected] or +44 (0)7583 137751