UK & World News
Sky News: Tighter Controls After Email Hacking
The head of Sky News has told the Leveson Inquiry it would be "highly unlikely" the channel would consider breaking the law in future.
Ofcom has confirmed that it is to investigate the channel over the unauthorised accessing of private emails in relation to a story about convicted fraudsters John and Anne Darwin.
John Ryley told the inquiry Sky News journalists will in future have a mandatory requirement to seek legal advice before taking any actions which might be viewed as unlawful.
He said there may be occasions when journalists have to consider breaking the law to "shed light" on wrongdoing, but added these cases were "very, very rare".
Mr Ryley also apologised for an inaccurate submission by Sky News to the Leveson Inquiry over the issue of whether it had been involved in the illegal accessing of data.
That was because an internal review had concentrated on phone hacking and the paying of public officials - both of which it found no evidence of at the broadcaster - and did not look at the accessing of emails.
Mr Ryley said the error in the statement was "very regrettable indeed and I apologise", and this was accepted by Lord Justice Leveson.
In a statement, Ofcom said it would be "investigating 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."
The regulator added: "We will make the outcome known in due course."
A Sky News spokesperson said: "As 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.
"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."
At the end of his evidence, Mr Ryley stressed that Sky News was separate from News International, in both its journalism and managerial structure.
Also appearing at the inquiry were Aidan Barclay, chairman of Telegraph Media Group, which publishes the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, and Evgeny Lebedev, chairman of the companies that own the Independent and London's Evening Standard.
Mr Lebedev said he did not see any problem with politicians and media proprietors having contact.
"I think it's just unfeasible to erect Chinese walls between proprietors or between editors and politicians, because we occupy the same sphere of existence.
"But I think where problems begin is when proprietors - because of power of their media organisations - start exerting influence over politicians and trying to affect countries' policy. That's where I think problems begin."
Rupert Murdoch will speak at the inquiry into media standards later this week.
His son James, who will appear before Justice Leveson on Tuesday, is set to be questioned further about when he learned of evidence suggesting phone hacking was rife at the News Of The World.
The inquiry has already heard from Richard Desmond, owner of the Express and Daily Star titles, and is expected to take evidence from Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday owner Lord Rothermere in the coming weeks.
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