COMMUNICATIONS WATCHDOG Ofcom has launched an investigation into allegations of email snooping at Sky News, which is part of tarnished publishing giant News International.
Phone hacking claims have swept other parts of the business, so accusations of email snooping are not much of a surprise. Ofcom is investigating claims that Sky News hacked accounts belonging to the missing in a canoe and presumed dead but not, John Darwin and his wife Anne.
"All we can do at this stage is confirm that we have launched an investigation into the fairness and privacy issues raised by Sky News' statement that it had accessed without prior authorisation private email accounts during the course of its news investigations," said an Ofcom spokesperson today.
Sky News had already stood by its own actions, explaining that what it did aided some criminal investigations.
"As the head of Sky News, John Ryley, said earlier this month, we stand by these actions as editorially justified. The Crown Prosecution Service acknowledges that there are rare occasions where it is justified for a journalist to commit an offence in the public interest," said a Sky spokesperson by way of response.
"The Director of Public Prosecutions Kier Starmer told the Leveson inquiry that 'considerable public interest weight' is given to journalistic conduct which discloses that a criminal offence has been committed and/or concealed."
Ofcom has a variety of punishments at its disposal for any firms that fall afoul of its judgments. They run from a simple admonishment to a fine, up to licence revocation. µ