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(Credit: Trinity Mirror, screenshot)

UK newspaper company Trinity Mirror announced an “investigation into the allegations of phone hacking” made against three of its newspapers, the Guardian reported.

According to the Guardian, Trinity Mirror’s CEO Simon Fox said in “an email to staff” that

“Even though we have yet to receive the legal claims which have been reported on, it would be irresponsible of me not to ask our lawyers to look into the four claims that have attracted this recent attention.”

Fox added that his “observations” are that “the company operates to the appropriate ethical standards and our editorial procedures and processes are robust.” Print Week noted that Fox became CEO Sept. 10.

Earlier this week, “four civil claims were filed against” the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror or The People newspapers alleging phone hacking, the Guardian reported.  The four claimants are former England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, former football player Garry Flitcroft, actor Shobna Gulat and former Beckham family nanny Abbie Gibson. (iMediaEthics wrote in August about former England team manager Steve McClaren’s failed injunction against the UK Sun related to the newspaper’s report claiming McClaren was “cheating on his wife AGAIN — with the ex-lover of predecessor Sven Goran Eriksson.”)

CNN reported that Mark Lewis, who is representing the four, said that after filing the claims, he “had contacts from other people this morning who have raised issues that I will have to look into.”

Trinity Mirror issued a statement Oct. 23 about the claims that reads:

“We note the allegations made against us by Mark Lewis in today’s papers.

“We have not yet received any claims nor have we been provided with any substantiation for those claims.

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“As we have previously stated, all our journalists work within the criminal law and the Press Complaints Commission Code of Conduct.”

The Guardian noted that Eriksson claims his phone was hacked during the time CNN’s Piers Morgan edited the Daily Mirror.  Noting CNN’s Morgan’s former position at the Mirror, CNN reported that “Morgan has said in the past that he has never hacked a voice mail and vigorously denied ever ordering phone hacking.”   In July 2011, Morgan called for UK Parliament’s Louise Mensch to apologize after saying Morgan “boasted” about hacking phones, which Morgan denied. She later apologized.

The Australian reminded that former Daily Mirror reporter James Hipwell told the Australian in July 2011 that the newspaper had used phone hacking.  After Hipwell’s claims, Trinity Mirror said it was going to review its “editorial practices,” as we wrote.

Hipwell is quoted as saying to the Australian last year of phone hacking:

“I used to see it going on around me all the time when I worked at the Daily Mirror...

“I sat right next to the show business desk and there were some showbiz reporters who did it as a matter of course, as a basic part of their working day. One of their bosses would wander up and instruct a reporter to ‘trawl the usual suspects’, which meant going through the voice messages of celebrities and celebrity PR agents. For everyone to pretend this is some isolated activity found only at the News of the World is ridiculous; it’s just a lie. Everyone was quite open about phone hacking because it was so common; it was considered a bit sharp, but not really illegal or unethical.”

The Australian noted that Morgan denied Hipwell’s claims.

iMediaEthics has written to Trinity Mirror asking if it has received the four claims, what its investigation will entail, and if it has any further comment. We will update with any response.

UPDATE: 10/26/2012 5:40 PM EST: Fixed datestamp

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4 New Claims of Phone Hacking Against UK Newspapers Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, the People

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