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'Crisis Management' After More Arrests At British Tabloid

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. media empire appears to be under siege.

Five more journalists at The Sun were arrested over the weekend as part of a U.K. investigation into alleged bribery of police officials and others by the British tabloid. Four current and former Sun journalists were arrested last month.

In an op-ed in the tabloid, Associate Editor Trevor Kavanagh complained bitterly of a "witch-hunt" that he said amounted to the "biggest police operation in British criminal history" — all directed at his reporters.

Instead of being called in for questioning, 30 journalists have been needlessly dragged from their beds in dawn raids, arrested and held in police cells while their homes are ransacked.

Wives and children have been humiliated as up to 20 officers at a time rip up floorboards and sift through intimate possessions, love letters and entirely private documents.

The Associated Press reports:

The investigation into illegality at Murdoch's now-defunct News of the World tabloid and its sister paper, The Sun, has already led to a slew of arrests — including police officers, executives and well-known British tabloid journalists. No one has yet been charged, but the inquiry has uncovered widespread wrongdoing, including voicemail interception, computer hacking and illicit payments to public officials for information.

The FBI has reportedly stepped up an inquiry into possible corruption by Murdoch journalists, according to Reuters, but the news agency quoted unnamed sources as saying U.S. investigators had "found little to substantiate allegations of phone hacking inside the United States."

If found guilty of bribery under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, News Corp. could be fined up to $2 million, while individuals involved in bribery faced $100,000 each, Reuters said.

According to The Independent, the U.K.-based newspaper ...

Mark Lewis, who was instrumental in exposing the scale of illegal voicemail accessing at the News of the World, is in the "advanced stages" of bringing his first case against News Corp. on the other side of the Atlantic.

The paper said News Corp. chief Murdoch was preparing to fly to London. The trip, it said, was being viewed as " 'five-star crisis management' with the future of The Sun on the line."

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.