Sky News Admits To E-Mail Hacking “In The Public Interest”

BSkyB’s Sky News admitted today that it has approved the hacking of emails on two occasions. Sky News chief John Ryley defended the moves in a statement that said the hacked email accounts belonged to individuals suspected of criminal activity. “We stand by these actions as editorially justified and in the public interest,” Ryley said. News Corp, which is embroiled in a phone and email hacking scandal at its UK press division, News International, owns 39% of BSkyB. The British regulator, Ofcom, is currently weighing whether News Corp and its COO James Murdoch are “fit and proper” persons to own a broadcast license on behalf of BSkyB. Murdoch stepped down as chairman of the satellite broadcaster earlier this week. Ryley said Sky had commissioned an external review of its email records and an internal audit of payment records. The decision was made “as part of our ongoing commitment to acting responsibly and in light of the current, heightened interest in editorial practices.”

Separately, News International is said to be challenging actress Sienna Miller over legal bills. Miller was among the first celebrities to take News International to court over phone hacking. Nearly a year ago, News International agreed to pay her £100,000 but a source told The Associated Press that there was no amount agreed over legal bills and that the matter is now headed to court.

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