News Corp sets up hotline for staff to report 'illegal activity'

 

Journalists at News International (NI) and other staff in Rupert Murdoch's media empire have been told to call a hotline to report suspicious colleagues in a fresh clampdown on corruption and other illegal activities.

The instructions to call an "alertline", following the introduction of the Bribery Act earlier this year, come after revelations that journalists from the company's defunct newspaper, the News of the World, paid serving police officers for information.

The policy, circulated by Eugenie C Gavenchak, News Corp's chief compliance and ethics officer, stresses that employees are under an obligation to report colleagues, and suggests they use a dedicated line, which is "available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year". It states: "Employees who suspect... violations of this policy must report them to the legal department of the business unit or of News Corporation, or to the News Corporation alertline."

News Corp promises to give legal support to those who wrongly accuse a fellow employee. "If you make an honest complaint in good faith, even if you are mistaken as to what you are complaining about, the company will protect you from retaliation," its policy states.

The development comes as a team of Metropolitan Police officers is conducting Operation Elveden into suspected payments made by NI journalists to police officers. The operation was launched after NI passed a series of emails to Scotland Yard. The emails are reported to suggest that some police officers were being paid by the newspaper between 2003 and 2007. The investigation is being led by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers and being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

NI has assigned the legal firm Linklaters to question departmental heads over past practices. Linklaters is currently conducting an audit of emails passing through the news desk of The Sun, as part of a review of journalistic standards. News Corp sources have said it is incorrect to speculate that any inappropriate activity on any other NI titles could be inferred from the review.

The News Corp policy, set out in a six-page document, warns that British bribery laws and other legislation introduced in other parts of the world mean that employees can face bribery accusations over such things as charity donations or excessive hospitality.

It is especially strict on the subject of bribing public servants. "Gifts and hospitality that may be perfectly acceptable among private parties can be completely forbidden when the other party is a government official."

Some NI journalists receiving the circular were concerned about the implications for them entertaining valued contacts who provide them with information. The policy warns: "Under no circumstances should gifts, entertainment or hospitality be given by you to others in order to improperly influence someone to act favourably towards the company." Any hospitality "must be reasonable in value, respectable in type or venue [and] have a legitimate business purpose", it adds.

Suggested Topics
News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam