Six former News of the World journalists held over phone hacking
Six journalists who formerly worked for the News of the World were arrested on Wednesday in relation to a new inquiry into potential phone hacking.
Following an investigation called Operation Weeting, the six journalists, two of whom currently work for the Sun, are being interviewed at police stations in London and Cheshire.
Although the Metropolitan police are yet to name the journalists, it is understood that two men aged 45 and 46 are being held in Wandsworth, South London.
A 39-year-old man was arrested in Greenwich, South-East London, and of the three women arrested a 39-year-old has been detained in Cheshire, while a 33-year-old is currently being interviewed in Islington, North London, and a 40-year-old in Lambeth, South London.
The Metropolitan Police Service has since released a statement in regards to the investigation, outlining the reasons behind the arrests.
The statement said: “Detectives on Operation Weeting have identified a further suspected conspiracy to intercept telephone voicemails by a number of employees who worked for the now defunct News of the World newspaper”.
While the police have not disclosed any information about whose voicemails the suspects were attempting to intercept, they announced: “In due course officers will be making contact with people they believe have been victims of the suspected voicemail interceptions”.
These arrests are the latest scandals in what has become a large-scale investigation regarding the role of the media.
Since 2005, when News of the World made headlines over allegations of the phone hacking of celebrities such as Hugh Grant, Charlotte Church, Sienna Miller, and the families of murder victims, government-led initiatives have been set up to investigate potential infringements and illegal activities.
According to Bloomberg News, News Corporation – the company that owned News of the World – has settled approximately 200 civil phone-hacking lawsuits and faces as many as 100 more, as police continue to investigate allegations and notify victims.
Back in November 2011, Lord Justice Leveson issued a statement in relation to the phone hacking scandal, saying: “The press provides an essential check on all aspects of public life. That is why any failure within the media affects all of us. At the heart of this inquiry, therefore, may be one simple question: who guards the guardians?”