Police warned against relationship with journalists

A new report on ethical standards of British police officers warns them against "flirting" and having "secret conversations" with journalists. The report titled "The ethical issues arising from the relationship between police and media" was prepared by former parliamentary commissioner for standards, Elizabeth Filkin, and was released Wednesday.

It said that "the close relationship which developed between parts of the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) and the media has caused serious harm". In 2011, News Corporation, a media holding owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch, came under intense criticism after it emerged that some journalists employed by the group had written stories based on material hacked from phone messages, including those belonging to crime victims, celebrities and politicians.

Soon after the scandal, Filkin headed the working group to develop the new ethical standards for the police. The report advises policemen to "watch out" for "late-night carousing, long sessions, yet another bottle of wine at lunch - these are all long-standing media tactics to get you to spill the beans".

"Mixing the media with alcohol is not banned but should be an uncommon event," the report said, adding that having drinks with police officers "may be seen as inappropriate hospitality". Among other key points were that "confidential briefings should be the exception" and "all contact should be available for audit".

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