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Evening Standard owner complains over FT Zoom conference article

Posted on: April 28, 2020 by Ian Murray

Independent Digital News and Media, owner of the Evening Standard and The Independent has complained to the Financial Times after it says one of its reporters listened in on a confidential video meeting with staff.

The FT journalist is reported to have listened in to  Zoom meetings at which staff were informed of cutbacks due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The FT carried an article outlining the steps being taken by Independent Digital News and Media.

News of the incident was reported on the Independent’s website today and it is understood the company has made an official complaint to the FT.

The FT is not part of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) but does require its journalists to follow the Editors’ Code of Practice.

The Code states: “The press must not seek to obtain or publish material acquired by using hidden cameras or clandestine listening devices; or by intercepting private or mobile telephone calls, messages or emails; or by the unauthorised removal of documents or photographs; or by accessing digitally-held information without consent.

“Engaging in misrepresentation or subterfuge, including by agents or intermediaries, can generally be justified only in the public interest and then only when the material cannot be obtained by other means.”

Independent editor Christian Broughton told readers: “We respect freedom of speech and understand the challenges of newsgathering, but The Independent considers the presence of a third-party journalist in a staff briefing to be entirely inappropriate and an unwarranted intrusion into our employees’ privacy.

No one was available for comment at the FT, however it is understood that an internal review is underway at the FT and comment will be provided when it concludes.