Rupert Murdoch’s perceived willingness to throw his journalists under the bus to save his own skin is angering his staff. Now senior journalists at the Sun are planning legal action against their don. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Last weekend police arrested five senior Sun employees – deputy editor, chief reporter, chief foreign correspondent, deputy news editor and picture editor – on charges of having bribed public officials for information. It is believed that the police were led to these individuals on the basis of being told who to target by News Corporation’s management and standards committee. The arrests have caused outrage, partly due to the perception that Murdoch is willing to sacrifice anyone at his newspapers to protect his media empire.
The journalists aren’t taking it lying down. They have now contacted the National Union of Journalists to investigate suing the News Corporation unit that disclosed confidential sources to the police. The row was stoked by the publication of a Times article by veteran human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson on Wednesday strongly criticising News Corp’s actions. “If journalists cannot promise anonymity to sources and keep that solemn promise, there would be a lot less news and what there was would be less reliable. So, on what basis can a journalist’s employer, without the journalist’s permission… squeal on them to the police?”
The NUJ is now investigating whether the journalists may be protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. The irony of this, as the Independent pointed out on Thursday, is that Sun journalists – including one of those arrested – have been consistently critical of the Human Rights Act. Apparently they don’t hate it so much when it stands between them and jail. DM
- Sun staff hope Strasbourg can save them from Murdoch, in The Independent.
Photo: Former Sun staff are taking News Corp on. REUTERS.