Two senior journalists working for Rupert Murdoch's News International in London have apparently attempted suicide as pressure mounts at the scandal-plagued publishing empire, British media reported Tuesday.
Three sources close to the company told Reuters Tuesday the two journalists at the Sun daily appeared to have tried to take their own lives. Investigations sparked by a phone-hacking scandal continue to expose dubious practices by present and past employees.
The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia reported that a man and a woman, involved in separate suicide attempts, were both rescued in time.
It was not a suicide pact, a friend said. The attempts were not simultaneous and there is no suggestion of a pact. They are both now in private clinics at the expense of Rupert Murdoch.
News of the journalists' actions broke in the London Evening Standard, which reported rising anger in News International newsrooms where staff believe executives had sold reporters out.
One inside source told the Standard the company's handling of the crisis had been disastrous, characterising it as an attempt to save James Murdoch. James Murdoch, the son of Rupert Murdoch, presided over the company during the later stages of the alleged cover-up of hacking. He resigned last week as executive chairman of the British arm of the media empire and will now work out of New York.
Eleven current and former staff of the Sun, Britain's best-selling daily tabloid, have been arrested this year on suspicion of bribing police or civil servants for tip-offs, Reuters reports.
Their arrests have come as a result of information provided to the police by the Management and Standards Committee, a body set up by parent company News Corp to facilitate police investigations and liaise with the courts.
The work of the MSC, which was set up to be independent of the conglomerate's British newspaper arm News International, has caused bitterness among staff, many of whom feel betrayed by an employer they have loyally served.
People think that they've been thrown under a bus, one News International employee told Reuters. They're beyond angry - there's an utter sense of betrayal, not just with the organization but with a general lynch-mob hysteria.
News International is facing multiple criminal investigations and civil court cases as well as a public inquiry into press standards after long-simmering criticism of its practices came to a head last July.
Politicians once close to Murdoch, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, turned their backs on him and demanded answers after the Guardian newspaper revealed the News of the World had hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
Police officer Sue Akers, who is heading three criminal inquiries into News International, said last week there appeared to have been a culture of illegal payments at the Sun.
Staff at the tabloid have been under additional pressure for the past two weeks because they have also had to produce a Sunday paper, hastily announced by Murdoch to replace the News of the World.
News International has increased the level of psychiatric help available to employees to help them cope.