'New York Post' Staff Told to 'Preserve' Phone Hacking Docs

5:52 PM PST 07/29/2011 by THR staff
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The News Corp.-owned paper's employees received a memo from the company's legal department warning against document destruction.

On Friday, New York Post employees received a memo from the in-house legal department of News Corp. --  the Post's parent company --  instructing them to "preserve and maintain" any documents relating to "unauthorized retrieval of phone or personal data, to payments for information to government officials," the New York Times reports.  

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The notice added that paper's journalists should "not destroy, discard, alter or change any potentially relevant documents ... even if such documents or materials would otherwise be routinely discarded or destroyed in the ordinary course of your business." And added that if there was any doubt about a document's relation to the matter to "err on the side of preserving it." 

But, it also cautioned that the directive was not being given "because any recipient has done anything improper or unlawful." 

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Post editor Col Allan later sent an email to his staff detailing that the cautionary procedures were taking place "in light of what has gone on in London at News of the World." Adding, "As we watched the news in the U.K. over the last few weeks, we knew that as a News Corporation tabloid, we would be looked at more closely. So this is not unexpected."

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The Times reports that employees at the Wall Street Journal, News Corp.'s other New York-based property, have not yet been instructed to take the same action. 

The paper also reported Friday that a 2007 letter clearing NOTW's top staff of incrimination in the phone-hacking scandal has now been called into question. 

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