Friday, April 20, 2018

Murdoch tabloids paid police for celebrity information, official says

LONDON — Rupert Murdoch's top-selling British tabloid, the Sun, had a culture of making illegal payments to corrupt public officials in return for stories, a senior police officer said Monday.

Sue Akers, a Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner, told Britain's media ethics inquiry that the newspaper openly referred to paying its sources and that such payments had been authorized at a senior level.

Akers said Sun journalists had paid not only police officers but also military, health and other government officials. She said payments went far beyond acceptable practices, such as buying sources a meal or a drink.

She said "a network of corrupted officials" had provided the Sun with stories that were mostly "salacious gossip."

"There appears to have been a culture at the Sun of illegal payments, and systems have been created to facilitate such payments whilst hiding the identity of the officials receiving the money," said Akers, who is in charge of a police investigation into phone hacking and police bribery.

Akers' report came as the focus of the ethics inquiry shifted from press practices to the potentially explosive issue of corrupt relations with the police.

She did not indicate when or whether the payments had ended, but Murdoch insisted that practices at the Sun have now changed.

Akers made her accusations a day after Murdoch launched the Sun on Sunday, a replacement for his shuttered, scandal-tainted News of the World.

Police are conducting investigations spawned by the hacking scandal, which grew out of revelations that journalists at News of the World intercepted voice mails of those in the public eye in a relentless search for scoops.

Murdoch shut down the 168-year-old tabloid in July amid a wave of public revulsion, and the scandal has triggered a judge-led public inquiry into media ethics.

News International, Murdoch's British newspaper division, has paid several million dollars in damages and legal costs to dozens of phone hacking victims, including celebrities such as Jude Law and crime victims such as the family of Milly Dowler, a murdered 13-year-old whose voice mails were intercepted in 2002.

On Monday, Murdoch's company paid former teen singing sensation Charlotte Church $951,000 in a phone-hacking settlement for violating her and her family's privacy.

Comments
Shaquem Griffin is about to join a long line of NFL draft picks from Lakewood

Shaquem Griffin is about to join a long line of NFL draft picks from Lakewood

ST. PETERSBURG — Former Lakewood High coach Brian Bruch started each season with the same spiel. He cautioned his players about not becoming obsessed with a professional football career, reciting statistics to emphasize the difficult the odds o...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Producer and DJ Avicii has been found dead

Producer and DJ Avicii has been found dead

Avicii, the Grammy-nominated electronic dance DJ who performed sold-out concerts for feverish fans around the world and also had massive success on U.S. pop radio, died Friday. He was 28. Publicist Diana Baron said in a statement that the Swedish per...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts today

Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts today

High school students from around the Tampa Bay area are participating in the National School Walkout today commemorating the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999 and calling for gun law reform.A large group of students from St. Petersburg High ...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Bucs’ Jameis Winston, Mike Evans catch Miami Heat game from courtside

Bucs’ Jameis Winston, Mike Evans catch Miami Heat game from courtside

We've seen Jameis Winston and Mike Evans bonding this offseason, going to Texas A&M pro day together, among other events. The two Bucs stars and their significant others double-dated Thursday night, getting courtside seats to watch the Miami Heat in ...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Clearwater Council member Bob Cundiff again questions fluoride

Clearwater Council member Bob Cundiff again questions fluoride

CLEARWATER — City Council member Bob Cundiff again diverged from his four colleagues on one of Tampa Bay's most sensitive subjects: fluoride.On Thursday, the City Council voted 4-1 to pay KAT Construction $552,000 to build fluori...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Mourners lining up to pay final respects to Barbara Bush

Mourners lining up to pay final respects to Barbara Bush

HOUSTON — A spray of flowers covered the closed silver casket of former first lady Barbara Bush in the sanctuary of a Houston church as hundreds of mourners began arriving Friday to pay their final respects. People waited in line hours early for secu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 22

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 22

American Stage in the Park: The Producers: Mel Brooks’ classic cult comedy sees a down-and-out producer and his accountant scheme to produce the most notorious flop in theater history. Through May 13. 8 p.m., Demens Landing, 100 First Ave. SE, St. Pe...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Democratic Party sues Russia and the Trump campaign alleging conspiracy to influence the election

Democratic Party sues Russia and the Trump campaign alleging conspiracy to influence the election

The Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Do...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Trump lawyer told to file statement to slow porn star's suit

Trump lawyer told to file statement to slow porn star's suit

A federal judge in Los Angeles has told lawyers for President Donald Trump's attorney Michael Cohen that he needs to file a declaration in court in order to delay a lawsuit filed by porn actress Stormy Daniels
Updated: 1 hour ago

AP Top News at 2:19 p.m. EDT

AP Top News at 2:19 p.m. EDT
Updated: 1 hour ago