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New York Post staff has been warned against destroying or changing any documents regarding phone hacking. (Credit: Poynter, screenshot) youtube to mp3, youtube to mp3

New York Post staff has been advised to “preserve and maintain documents” regarding phone hacking, the Poynter Institute’s Jim Romenesko reported.

The Post shares the same parent company as News of the World — News Corp., owned by Rupert Murdoch.

News Corp’s legal department sent the request in a memo to staff July 29.  The memo is published on Romenesko’s site here.

In a memo to staff following the legal memo, The Post ‘s editor, Col Allan, denied that the New York Post has been accused of or found guilty of any illegal activities, but instead explained the measure as part of the scrutiny that all News Corp.-owned news outlets are under.

“All New York Post employees have been asked to do this in light of what has gone on in London at News of the World, and not because any recipient has done anything improper or unlawful.”

Allan noted in his memo that despite any investigation of the Post, for which “full and absolute cooperation is necessary,” sources will be protected.  Allan’s memo explained:

“While we have instituted this hold, we do intend to protect from disclosure all legitimate and lawful journalistic sources in accordance with the law.”

Staff is “required” to maintain “any documents pertaining to unauthorized retrieval of phone or personal data, to payments for information to government officials, or that is related in any way to these issues, must be retained.

The definition of “documents” is wide, according to the memo, and includes e-mail and calendars on both personal and professional devices.  New York Post staff isn’t called on to actively get “relevant documents,” rather just to make sure “relevant documents” aren’t “destroyed or otherwise made unavailable.”

The New York Times reported that the requests outlined in the New York Post memo were not sent to the Wall Street Journal, a News Corp.-owned newspaper.

 NOTW May have to Pay Glenn Muclaire

In a July 19 interview with Parliament, James Murdoch revealed that News Corp. is still paying the legal fees of convicted phone hacker and former News of the World private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.  News International announced in the following days that it would stop paying Mulcaire’s fees.

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“Mulcaire is appealing against a high court order requiring him to identify the News of the World journalists involved in phone-hacking. Up to now this case was being funded by News International,” the Guardian reported.

However, News of the World may still have to pay those fees, the Guardian reported.

Mulcaire’s attorneys reportedly stated that there has been “no written confirmation that [News Group Newspapers] is going to cease funding our client.”

News International “sources” reportedly claim that Mulcaire’s attorneys were told verbally and would receive a written notice soon, if not already.

Meanwhile, Mulcaire issued a statement claiming he only acted based on orders from News of the World, the Telegraph reported.  The statement reads:

“As an employee he acted on the instructions of others.  There were also occasions when he understood his instructions were from those who generally assist in solving crimes.”

Will News Int’l Investigation Last til 2012?

The UK judge who is “overseeing an inquiry into News International’s phone hacking scandal” reportedly commented that just the investigation into the scandal may last a year.

According to Yahoo News, Justice Leveson stated the case “will focus closely on  ‘the culture practices and ethics of the press in the context of the latter’s relationship with the public, the police and politicians.'”

See all of iMediaEthics’ reports on the phone hacking scandal here.

In September, according to Yahoo News, there will be a journalism ethics seminar related to the inquiry.

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