The NUJ has called for journalists at the Sun newspaper to contact the union, after it emerged some had been betrayed by their management, by passing on confidential emails of correspondence with sources and whistle-blowers to the police.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary 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.”
Last week, the NUJ gave anonymous evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking on a culture of bullying, harassment and intimidation of journalists at a number of newspapers, including those owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News International.
(Pictured, Michelle Stanistreet and John Hendy QC at the High Court in London)
The union points out that protection of sources is an essential principle, reaffirmed by the European Court of Human Rights as the cornerstone of press freedom. In 2007 a judge made it clear journalists and their sources are protected under article 10 of the Human Rights Act and that it applies to leaked material.
Independent trade unions have been banned from NI offices for more than 25 years. Some workers have joined the company’s internal staff association, NISA. In 2001, the government’s union Certification Office denied NISA’s recognition as an independent trade union, because it had been set up by the NI management.
Said Michelle Stanistreet:“We recognise that NISA 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 union will be writing to News Corp’s Management and Standards Committee asking what authority it had to disclose this information. It is also contacting staff at News international to invite them to join the NUJ.
Watch our report on NUJ’s testimony to Leveson Inquiry here: