Two senior journalists at News International in apparent ‘suicide attempts’ following arrests
By Richard Hartley-parkinson
Last updated at 12:21 PM on 7th March 2012
Two senior journalists from News International are recovering in hospital after apparent suicide attempts in the wake of the scandals that have rocked Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire.
Eleven current and former staff of the Sun, have been arrested this year on suspicion of bribing police or civil servants for tip-offs.
Three sources close to News International told the Reuters news agency that two of the company’s staff had appeared to try and take their own lives, as the pressure from both the corruption inquiry and the on-going phone hacking investigation grows.
The pair, who have not been publicly named, have had their hospital expenses paid for by News International.
Two journalists who work for News International are believed to have attempted suicide as the pressure from corruption and phone-hacking scandals grows
Sources told the Evening Standard that other journalists inside the Wapping HQ look ‘terribly stressed and many are on the edge’. It is understood the company’s offer of psychiatric help is available to any journalist who feels under pressure.
The company’s Management and Standards Committee has turned over 300million emails and internal papers to Scotland Yard investigators looking into phone hacking and bribery allegations.
The MSC’s co-operation with the police has triggered a civil war inside the Murdoch empire. Bosses at News International, its UK-newspaper subsidiary, are furious that the committee, headed by Lord Grabiner QC, has ‘sold journalists down the river’.
A News International insider told Reuters: ‘People think that they’ve been thrown under a bus. They’re beyond angry – there’s an utter sense of betrayal, not just with the organisation but with a general lynch-mob hysteria’.
The Independent today reports that employees believe they are being singled out for a culture that was encouraged by senior executives.
Last week, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, who is in charge of the investigations into News International, told the Leveson Inquiry she believed The Sun had established a ‘network of corrupted officials’ inside the police, the armed forces and other key public organisations.
She added there was a ‘culture of illegal payments’ at the newspaper.
No one from The Sun or the News International has yet been charged with an offence.
Meanwhile, the Independent today reports that detectives investigating phone hacking at the News of the World have arranged interviews with several former journalists and PAs as witnesses to establish how widespread the practice really was, and whether it was sanctioned by those in senior positions.
Yesterday, former Scotland Yard commissioner Lord Condon told the Leveson Inquiry into the phone hacking crisis that he was ‘very disappointed’ by events at the Met.
‘I have been concerned by some of the issues that have emerged and had I still been involved in the Service I would probably be very angry,’ he said.
He described the ‘history of police malpractice’ as ‘cyclical’ and called for Lord Justice Leveson, who is this week looking at relations between the Met and the media, to suggest ‘enduring’ reforms to the relationship between the press and the police.
Lord Condon, who led the Met in the Nineties, said: ‘The history of police malpractice goes: scandal, inquiry, remedial action, relaxation, complacency, scandal, inquiry and that’s been on about a 20-year cycle.’