Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers were on Saturday facing questions about the “integrity” of their journalism after two current and two former senior journalists of The Sun were arrested over allegations of paying bribes to police for information.

Among them were reported to be its head of news, Chris Pharo, and crime Editor Mike Sullivan, both high-profile figures. They were arrested along with the former Managing Editor, Graham Dudman, and ex-Deputy Editor Fergus Shanahan. All were being questioned on suspicion of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Police were searching their home addresses and the offices of News International, which publishes The Sun and other Murdoch titles including The Times and The Sunday Times. It also published The News of the World, shut down last summer after being embroiled in the phone-hacking scandal.

Information provided

The arrests, including that of a 29-year-old police officer, were part of wider police investigations into the hacking case and followed information reportedly provided by News Corporation, the parent company of News International.

Sky News, which is part-owned by Mr. Murdoch, said: “The information that police are working on, largely, has been supplied by the company itself who have done a trawl of staff e-mails, expenses sheets, expenses claims made by journalists.”

In a statement, News Corporation said: “News Corporation made a commitment last summer that unacceptable news gathering practices by individuals in the past would not be repeated. It commissioned the Management and Standards Committee (MSC) to undertake a review of all News International titles, regardless of cost, and to proactively co-operate with law enforcement and other authorities if potentially relevant information arose at those titles. As a result of that review, which is ongoing, the MSC provided information …which led to today's arrests.” It vowed to continue to pursue “legitimate journalism.”

Others questioned as part of the investigations include Rebekah Brooks, who was forced to resign as chief executive of News International over the hacking scandal.

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