The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been accused of spying on the emails of staff it suspected of leaking information, it is revealed.
According to figures revealed under Freedom of Information legislation, the BBCâ„¢s Investigations Service monitored emails sent and received by 30 members of staff last year.
Four of these were staff suspected of having leaked information to people outside the organisation and three of what it described as taking part in Å“malicious communications”, the Daily Telegraph reported.
That raises the prospect that BBC management is targeting whistle-blowers, and that those staff in question would not have been made aware their emails were being read.
The emails were monitored to allow the investigation team to gather evidence against members of staff, with a view to mounting disciplinary procedures against them.
Monitoring of emails was also used during investigations which could have led to criminal proceedings, the report said.
As well as those suspected of leaking information, investigators also monitored the email correspondence of one BBC worker suspected of bribery, one of harassment, two of theft, six of fraud, eight of computer misuse and four in relation to disciplinary matters.
Meanwhile, it was revealed last month that the BBC used licence fee payersâ„¢ money to buy the silence of more than 500 staff, with payouts of up to £500,000 each.
According to figures released under Freedom of Information, in the past eight years 539 staff have signed gagging orders at a total cost of £28 million.
The scale of the payouts led to accusations that the BBC was using the agreements to silence potential whistle blowers and victims of bullying or sexual harassment.
Gavin MacFadyen, spokesman for Whistleblowers UK, said: Å“It is clear that in a large number of cases the BBC appears to be targeting whistle-blowers and we are very concerned about this.
Å“It signals that the BBC is more interested in shooting the messenger than in dealing with the grievances that have led them to speak out in the first place. But it also runs counter to public opinion, which is increasingly supportive of whistle-blowers”.
Republished with permission from: Press TV