UK media regulator Ofcom to probe Sky News over email hacking

Demonstrators from the campaign group 'Avaaz' protest outside the Queen Elizabeth II centre in London, on November 29, 2011, as BSkyB hold their annual general meeting.</p>

Demonstrators from the campaign group 'Avaaz' protest outside the Queen Elizabeth II centre in London, on November 29, 2011, as BSkyB hold their annual general meeting.

LONDON – UK media regulator Ofcom has launched an investigation into the hacking of private email accounts by Rupert Murdoch’s influential news channel Sky News.

Earlier this month Sky News admitted hacking into the accounts of John Darwin, the “canoe man” accused of faking his own death in 2002, Darwin’s wife Anne, as well as the account of a suspected paedophile.

Sky News insisted at the time that it had practiced “responsible journalism” and acted in the public interest because it had shared the information gathered with police and helped to secure a criminal conviction.

However, the admission was widely viewed as damaging to the successful channel given that its parent company, BskyB, is 39 percent-owned by Murdoch’s News Corp., which has been wracked by phone hacking allegations directed at its British newspaper business, Reuters reports.

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According to ITV News, an Ofcom spokesperson said Monday: “Ofcom is investigation the fairness and privacy issues raised by Sky News’ statement that it had accessed without prior authorization private email accounts during the course of its news investigations. We will make the outcome known in due course.”

John Ryley, the head of Sky News, is due to give evidence later today to the ongoing Leveson Inquiry into UK press culture, practices and ethics, which was set up in the wake of the News International phone hacking scandal.

London’s Metropolitan Police launched its own investigation – Operation Tuleta – into computer hacking and email interception last year, and a number of people have already been arrested and released in connection with the inquiry, the BBC reports

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