News International Offers ‘No Comment’ on Reports That Two Reporters at Murdoch-Owned Sun Tabloid Attempted Suicide (Update)
British media and social sites largely silent as overnight reports suggest apparent suicide attempts came as pressure from investigations into alleged phone-hacking continues to mount.
LONDON – News International offered “no comment” to enquiries about the apparent suicide attempts by two unnamed senior journalists working for Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun daily tabloid newspaper.
THR enquiries to Murdoch’s News Corp. owned newspaper subsidiary -- which is at the center of the phone-hacking scandal -- were met with a wall of silence as the U.K. media woke up to overnight reports.
Sources close to the company told Reuters that The Sun daily journalists tried to take their lives in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
The investigation into phone-hacking has already resulted in the arrests of more than 20 current and former staff members at News International’s newspaper portfolio that includes The Sun and the now shuttered News of The World Sunday tabloid closed in the initial fallout from the scandal.
Eleven journalists at the Sun alone have been arrested to date on suspicion of paying public officials for information with recipients ranging from police officers and armed forces operatives.
According to a report in the Financial Times in London “morale in The Sun newsroom has been badly affected” as the investigations into phone-hacking rumble on.
One early morning tweet, which subsequently disappeared from the social media site, noted the low level of web activity on this side of the pond as the story played bigger in the U.S.
“A bit of respect for the poor journalists or a sign of more sinister forces at work,” was one speculator’s response to the low-level buzz across U.K. web and social media sites.
Indeed, Twitter remained remarkably quiet on the subject and The Guardian, the British newspaper spearheading the coverage of the phone-hacking in the U.K., had nothing on its site by mid-morning.
Murdoch launched the Sun on Sunday on February 26, confounding critics who believed that the News’s International’s newspaper operation had become a fatally tainted brand.
It sold around 3.2 million copies on its debut weekend but sales fell away for its second outing with initial estimates putting it at 2.6 million for its sophomore Sunday sales.
According to Reuters, News International has increased efforts to provide psychiatric help for employees to assist them during the scandal.
One Twitter account, under the moniker tabloidman, asked: “How much money – I wonder – has The Priory made out of news room referrals over the years?,” referring to the U.K.’s famous rehab clinic on the outskirts of London.