Sky News

Sky News stands by its actions which it says were 'editorially justified and in the public interest'

Credit: David Jones/PA
Broadcast regulator Ofcom is to investigate "the fairness and privacy issues" raised after Sky News admitted to having hacked emails on two occasions, for which it claimed there was editorial justification and a public interest.

Earlier this month Sky News' head of news John Ryley confirmed that the broadcaster had authorised a journalist to access emails "of individuals suspected of criminal activity", insisting police were aware of their actions.

At the time he said Sky News "[stood] by these actions as editorially justified and in the public interest" and that the company did "not take such decisions lightly or frequently".

"They require finely balanced judgement based on individual circumstances and must always be subjected to the proper editorial controls."

Ofcom said today that it is "investigating the fairness and privacy issues raised by Sky News' statement that it had accessed without prior authorisation private email accounts during the course of its news investigations".

"We will make the outcome known in due course," a spokesperson added.

In response Sky News said it continues to stand by these actions.

"The Crown Prosecution Service acknowledges that there are rare occasions where it is justified for a journalist to commit an offence in the public interest.

"The Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer told the Leveson inquiry that 'considerable public interest weight' is given to journalistic conduct which discloses that a criminal offence has been committed and/or concealed."

At the time of writing Sky News's John Ryley is appearing before the Leveson inquiry into the culture, ethics and practices of the press.

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