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The Forum > Article Comments > News of the World: Why whistle blowers don't blow the whistle and why ethics arenít ethics > Comments

News of the World: Why whistle blowers don't blow the whistle and why ethics arenít ethics : Comments

By Peter Bowden, published 12/7/2011

A Code of Ethics only works when they target actual ethical confrontations experienced by employees.

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For the record, I think this is the relevant part of News Ltd's "Professional Conduct Policy":

5. Covert activities

5.1 Journalists and photographers may at times have to operate surreptitiously to expose crime, significantly anti-social conduct, public deception or some other matter in the public interest.
All such operations must be approved in advance by the editor. This approval will be given only where good cause exists to suspect crime or deception has taken place, and after all other means of gathering the facts have been exhausted.
The editorial executive must be satisfied the importance of publishing the information sought outweighs any damage to trust and credibility which your newspaper might suffer by allowing employees to operate surreptitiously.
Where appropriate, the nature and reasons for operating covertly should be disclosed to readers.

5.2 News Limited does not condone illegal acts by employees.

And, Section 22.3 Complaints involving alleged breaches of this policy will be investigated by the managing editor of the newspaper concerned, or by an executive of equivalent status.
Proven breaches will be dealt with in accordance with the company's disciplinary procedures.

At least, that's the version I have. Looks pretty clear to me...

Yours, Jolyon Sykes
Posted by Jolyon Sykes, Tuesday, 12 July 2011 5:55:20 PM
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Rebekah Brooks either knew what those under her were doing and was culpable, or she didn't and was incompetent.
But while it might be a deserving end to see her get what her underlings got, even her sacrifice should not be used to get News Limited off the hook.
Instead of sending any of these morally challenged executives to jail, a better outcome for the world would be to see Rupert Murdoch's empire dismantled.
Posted by halduell, Wednesday, 13 July 2011 7:30:06 AM
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What taxes did Murdoch pay in Australia?
What benefits did Australian politicians get out of their constant meetings with Murdoch?
Why aren't these questions being asked, and do you think that we would ever get answers?
Posted by Raise the Dust, Wednesday, 13 July 2011 9:02:57 AM
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One can only imagine the fate of a would-be-whistleblower at News of the World. They would be warmly embraced, promoted and given a standing ovation for pointing out these ethical breaches. Pffft.

To remind people of the Ethical Code in an all-staff email is meaningless without big changes to culture and expectations. These sorts of emails are merely 'hand washing' gestures. "Well we did remind our staff...blah blah".
Posted by pelican, Tuesday, 19 July 2011 1:43:42 PM
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Former News of the World employee and whistle blower in the hacking scandal has been found dead.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-19/hacking-death/2799648
Posted by Poirot, Tuesday, 19 July 2011 2:02:11 PM
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Sorry guys, this is still a legal issue, not an ethical one - yet! The ethical issue is whether or not there might be a public benefit to be derived from these illegal acts that could mitigate the seriousness of the illegality. One could argue, for example, that ridiculing members of Britainís self-styled ruling class or exposing deception by sporting heroes might be public benefits justifying phone-hacking but the public benefit of intruding into the grieving of families of dead soldiers, while still arguable, is less obvious. News Limited's problem is not the first part of Section Five - that's fine - but the second where it says clearly that it will not condone illegal acts by employees when, clearly, it not only does condone them but also apparently pushes employees into doing them. Yours, Jolyon Sykes.
Posted by Jolyon Sykes, Tuesday, 19 July 2011 9:14:49 PM
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