News of the World editor Colin Myler this week laid down the law for his journalists in the wake of the jailing of the paper’s Royals editor Clive Goodman for phone-tapping.
Myler has pledged that steps will be taken over the coming weeks to ensure his journalists are fully aware of their responsibilities and said that the NoW will reintroduce its training programme with a core focus on the law, the Press Complaints Commission and all ethical matters.
In a memo to all staff, Myler said: “Following the Clive Goodman case it is obviously timely to remind all staff of the standards the News of the World requires from its journalists.”
Goodman was jailed for four months a fortnight ago after admitting illegally tapping into voicemail messages left on Royal family aides’ phones.
The sentencing prompted NoW editor Andy Coulson to step down. Former Sunday Mirror editor Myler — who has been number two at the News Corp-owned New York Post for the last four years — arrived at News International on the Monday before last.
In his advice to staff, Myler stressed that his journalists must strictly adhere to the Editors’ Code of Practice and dedicated a section to the subject of cash payments. He said: “Every such payment requires a compelling justification and must be recorded.
“All contracts for stories, pictures or information must be clear and unambiguous.
“Staff must conduct themselves in a dignified fashion — and save for the exposure of crime or wrongdoing, must always act in a straightforward and open manner.
“There must be no misrepresentation or deception, either by commission or omission, nor any breaches of the Data Protection Act. “There must be no unwarranted intrusion into personal privacy without the clearest justification, as set out under PCC rules.
“Every member of staff (and anyone working on behalf of the News of the World) is an ambassador for this newspaper.”
Last week, the PCC contacted newspaper and magazine editors — including Myler — to find out what safeguards were being put in place to avoid illegal phone tapping and the paying of private detectives for information.