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UK police focusing on 'suspected criminality over sustained period' at Sun

London, Thu, 16 Feb 2012 ANI

London, Feb 16 (ANI): The ongoing probe into payments made by British tabloid The Sun's journalists to police and other officials is now focused on 'suspected criminality over a sustained period of time' involving tens of thousands of pounds, it has been disclosed.


British police recently arrested nine former and current senior Sun staff in an investigation looking into illegal payments to police and public officials.


The move, however, resulted in a backlash from staff who accused police and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp management of conducting a 'witch hunt' over journalists and their sources.


However, a source close to the investigation said that 'this is not about sources or expenses, this is an investigation into serious suspected criminality over a sustained period.'


"It involves regular cash payments totalling tens of thousands of pounds a year for several years to public officials, some of whom were effectively on retainers to provide information. In totality it involves a six-figure sum," The Telegraph quoted the source, as saying.


Meanwhile, the civil war in Murdoch's empire deepened on Tuesday after The Times raised concerns that the internal investigation is risking journalists' sources.


According to the paper, the names of public officials were being passed to the police on the grounds they do not deserve protection because there is evidence they may have been paid for information.


Geoffrey Robertson, a leading human rights lawyer who used a column in yesterday's Times newspaper to call on journalists to fight for their rights, recalled a European Court ruling, which stated that the protection of journalistic sources was one of the basic conditions for press freedom.


"By revealing journalistic sources, the committee is not so much "draining the swamp", as one member described it, as throwing the baby out with the bathwater," the paper quoted Robertson, as saying. (ANI)


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