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Murdoch the real villain of the Operation Elveden fiasco

16 October 2015

NUJ reaction to the end of the cases of Chris Pharo and Jamie Pyatt and the fiasco of Operation Elveden.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"We are delighted the jury upheld the actions of Sun reporters Chris Pharo and Jamie Pyatt, who were just doing their jobs. So ends the sorry saga of Operation Elveden, the police operation which took 29 journalists to court, with just one being convicted. The juries understood that journalists sometimes have to pay to get stories and are right to do so if the story is the public interest.
"Journalists' lives have been put on hold for years, many found themselves subject to humiliating and unnecessary  dawn raids, now the operation has been proved to be a £20-million fiasco. What was so damaging for the journalists was that they were forced to breach the most basic tenet of the profession – that you always protect your source.
"There is no doubt the villain of the piece is Rupert Murdoch and his henchmen and women. When the phone hacking scandal broke, his reaction was save his corporate neck. He closed the News of the World and, under Will Lewis, set up the management standards committee and became the coppers' nark by handing over, wholesale, the emails of his staff including communications between them and their sources.
"Murdoch was prepared to throw them all to the wolves. He didn't care about his staff. He didn't care about the protection journalists need for a free press. He didn't care when the whistleblowers and public officials were sent to prison because he had handed them over to the police.
"We must never have a situation where journalists are abused in this way. If they have no guarantee they can to do their jobs safely and can protect their sources and journalistic material, we will not have a functioning free press.”

Tags: , national newspapers, operation elveden, press freedom, protection of sources, rupert murdoch, news uk, the sun