Sky News' star reporters angry at scrutiny of reporting practices

 

The satellite broadcaster BSkyB has appointed outside lawyers to conduct a trawl of the emails of star journalists working on its rolling news channel Sky News to ensure that there is no evidence of stories being obtained by illicit news-gathering methods.

The development, days ahead of the broadcaster's annual general meeting, would enable the company to give assurances to its shareholders that the award-winning channel is free from the illegal practices uncovered at News International. BSkyB is independent of News Corporation but Rupert Murdoch's media empire is its largest shareholder, with a 39.1 per cent stake, and recently attempted to take complete control of the broadcaster.

The failure of that planned takeover was largely due to the controversy around News International, and Mr Murdoch's withdrawal of an £8bn bid for BSkyB coincided with the Prime Minister announcing a public inquiry into media standards.

Herbert Smith, Sky's longstanding external legal adviser, was called in to carry out the email audit at the request of John Ryley, the head of Sky News. Most controversially, the searches – which will cover all email traffic over the past five years – will concentrate on some half a dozen senior journalists who are best-known for breaking stories outside of the regular news cycle.

These correspondents are the most valuable players on Sky News's award-winning team. The targeted nature of the searches has caused some resentment and worry in the newsroom but Ryley has spoken privately to each of the journalists involved to assure them that they should not be concerned.

A BSkyB spokesman stressed that the exercise had not been prompted by any external request or by any evidence of wrongdoing. "There has been no suggestion of any impropriety at Sky News. We remain committed to the highest standards," he said.

The inquiry is in its early stages and is expected to take several weeks. The email audit follows a search of Sky News payment records made earlier this year by an internal audit team.

Although the search is seen by Sky as a matter of good governance, the exercise takes place against the backdrop of Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into media standards. News Corp's Management & Standards Committee, which has been appointed to investigate illicit activities at News International, continues to use the legal firm Linklaters to study the emails of journalists at Mr Murdoch's British newspapers. The company has forwarded three million emails to police investigators.

Much of the MSC's attention has recently focused on The Sun, where the email correspondence of the news desk, senior journalists and departmental heads has come under scrutiny.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Reimagined: Gwyneth Paltrow and Toni Collette in the film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma
books
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
Cannes 2015Dheepan, film review
Sport
sport
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager (EMEA) - City, London

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine