The NUJ has condemned the arrests of five more Sun journalists as a “witch-hunt” in which newspaper staff are being sacrificed by News International management in order to take pressure off the company.
General secretary Michelle Stanistreet (pictured) said: “The closure of the News of the World was a cynical act of damage limitation. The unprecedented decision to allow the Metropolitan Police to camp out at Wapping, and the sacrificing of journalists by the management's standards committee is an extension of this strategy.
"The reputation of these journalists – and let’s remember they have not been convicted of anything – will inevitably be damaged.
“Once again Murdoch is trying to pin the blame on individual journalists, hoping that a few scalps will salvage his corporate reputation. It’s clear that by spuriously cleaning up his reputation he and those close to him still believe the BSkyB deal can be resurrected at some point in the future.
"They’re doing all they can to make that politically possible. If that means shafting people who have simply been doing their jobs, as it was demanded of them on the Sun and other titles, clearly Murdoch has given the green light to do so.”
The Sun journalists arrested are reported to be deputy editor Geoff Webster, chief reporter John Kay, picture editor John Edwards, chief foreign correspondent Nick Parker, and John Sturgis, who is deputy news editor.
Officers from Operation Elveden made the arrests this morning as part of the investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials.
A fortnight ago four former and current Sun journalists were arrested over alleged illegal police payments.
- Ex-News of the World journalist Neville Thurlbeck, writing on his blog, says: "It is not an overstatement to say that I cannot think of another example of behaviour which rates higher on the scale of sickening hypocrisy. These acts of treachery by News International and News Corporation are literally destroying the lives of the people who served them loyally and did their bidding. The anger among Sun staff at the moment is straight from the furnace and springs from the company’s desire to sacrifice anyone in order to protect itself. They have effectively declared war on their own staff, a disastrous corporate strategy.”