The NUJ has called for all journalists at the Sun, who it says were "betrayed by their management" when their confidential emails identifying sources and whistle-blowers were handed over to the police, to join the union.
General secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “We have been approached by a group of journalists from the Sun. We are now exploring a number of ways to support them, including discussing legal redress.
“We recognise that NISA [News International Staff Association] officials are trying their best for staff, but they have no chance because they are seen as creatures of Rupert Murdoch’s management.
"The NUJ can defend staff at the Sun, and elsewhere in News International, and represent them against a management that seems prepared to throw them to the wolves.
"It is not an exaggeration to say that if journalists are not allowed to offer protection to their sources – often brave people who are raising their heads above the parapet to disclose information – then the free press in the UK is dead.
"The protection of sources is an essential principle which has been repeatedly reaffirmed by the European Court of Human Rights as the cornerstone of press freedom and the NUJ shall defend it. In 2007 a judge made it clear that journalists and their sources are protected under article 10 of the Human Rights Act and it applies to leaked material.
“I will be writing to News Corp’s Management and Standards Committee asking what authority it had to disclose this information. I will also be writing to staff at News international to invite them to join the NUJ.”
- The NUJ was derecognised by News International when it left Fleet Street for Wapping in 1986.
- In 2001, the Certification Office denied NISA recognition as an independent trade union because it was set up by the News International management.