British police arrest five at Murdoch’s Sun newspaper

British police on Saturday arrested five senior staff at News Corporation’s mass-circulation newspaper The Sun as part of investigations into journalists paying police for information.
The probe is part of a wider investigation into illegal news gathering practices that has rocked Britain’s political, media and police establishments and last year prompted the closure of the Sun’s sister Sunday title, the News of the World.
Saturday’s arrests came after the company passed information to the police, a move that infuriated staff and sparked talk of a witch hunt amongst journalists by a proprietor who previously celebrated their work.
News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch is due in London next week and is set to meet staff, a source familiar with the situation said.
Four current and former Sun staff had already been arrested last month, and the latest detentions raise questions about the viability of Britain’s best selling daily.
News International chief executive Tom Mockridge sent a memo to staff saying: “I have had a personal assurance today from Rupert Murdoch about his total commitment to continue to own and publish the Sun newspaper.”
Sun editor Dominic Mohan said he was “as shocked as anyone by today’s arrests” but determined to keep fulfilling the paper’s “duty to serve our readers.”
The source said the arrests included the Sun’s deputy editor, picture editor, chief reporter and two other senior staff. Police said a serving police officer was among a total of eight people arrested early on Saturday.
The source said a defense ministry employee and a member of the armed forces were the others. The ministry declined comment.