Friday, August 05, 2011

Daily Mirror Uses Southern Investigations 230 Times

Journalists caught in the Hackgate scandal have frequently professed being oblivious to the gutter methods employed to attain sensationalist stories. Piers Morgan, who has been under pressure after Heather Mills revealed her phone was hacked by his paper ten years ago, responded to allegations by saying that he never took part in or had knowledge about hacking.

Recent evidence goes to show that the Daily Mirror, once Morgan’s paper, has been employing third parties such as private investigators to carry out phone hacking for them. Southern Investigations, an example of this, was employed by the Mirror 230 times between 7 October 1997 and 23 September 1999, with bills pushing £67,000.

Although this appears to confirmation of scandal, there is no evidence that their work is illegal, and the Mirror has not denied using the group. The prime minister has called on Lord Justice Leveson to investigate the use of private detectives in newspaper journalism. It appears that the Mirror depended on private detectives for two enquiries a week in the late 1990s.

There are several confidential pieces of information that have further arisen from the enquiry. For example, Southern Investigations have obtained the mortgage details of Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, and the financial records of Peter Mandelson.

This type of confidential financial information was used in several stories run by the Mirror. The Levesdon enquiry will continue to scrutinise the legality of attaining this information as well as further use of private detectives by other papers. Hackgate continues.

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