The publisher of the Daily Mirror has obtained written guarantees from senior editorial executives that they have not been involved in phone hacking or paying police
The publisher of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror has obtained written
guarantees from senior editorial executives that they have not been involved in so-called "black arts" – such as phone hacking and paying police – over the past 11 years.
However, Trinity Mirror has not sought guarantees from former executives, such as ex-Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, who has faced a series of phone hacking allegations in recent weeks.
Sly Bailey, the chief executive of Trinity Mirror, said that the company had taken the step in a bid to quash "completely unsubstantiated" allegations of malpractice by the company's journalists.
"The company has sought and received formal written confirmation from senior editorial executives across both the nationals and regionals [newspapers], that since the commencement of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in October 2000 and whilst an employee of the group they have not nor, to their knowledge, have any of their staff or anyone on their behalf, intercepted any telephone messages, made payments to serving police officers or accessed the police national computer," Bailey said.
Trinity Mirror has become the focus of allegations about alleged phone hacking in recent weeks, as other national newspapers have been put under the microscope following Rupert Murdoch's closure of the News of the World.
In Trinity Mirror's case the focus has largely been on Morgan, the CNN talkshow presenter who edited the Daily Mirror for nearly a decade until 2004.
Morgan has consistently denied he has ever hacked a phone, ordered any of his journalists to do so, or published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone.
Bailey said that the initiative to seek written promises of probity from editorial executives did not extend to former staff such as Morgan. "We are not in a position to compel people who no longer work for us," she said.
"There have been a number of completely unsubstantiated allegations made against our titles with no evidence to support them."
Lawyer Mark Lewis, who is representing a number of claimants taking civil action against News of the World publisher News International over alleged phone hacking, has said that he has at least three similar cases against Trinity Mirror.
However, Bailey said that the company has not received any notification of legal action from Lewis.
She said the review of current editorial procedures that Trinity Mirror launched in July following the closure of NoW as "timely".
"It is just good corporate governance. Following the disclosure of the activities of certain journalists at the News of the World, the government has asked Lord Justice Leveson to hold an inquiry into various matters including the regulation of the press," Bailey said.
"At the same time, and in part as a consequence of the introduction of the Contentwatch editorial system across many of our businesses, the group has implemented a review of its editorial controls and procedures. It is too early to determine what, if any, impact there will be on our businesses from either review."
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