The government is drawing up a new law to discourage company whistleblowers from selling their stories to the press, according to the Guardian.
Under the new legislation, employees who tell their boss about the wrongdoing instead of talking to journalists would be “rewarded with huge, officially endorsed payouts that could outstrip even the fattest of tabloid cheques”.
The move could be bad news for news agencies, which often act as middle-men between the disgruntled workers and the tabloids.
The Guardian piece, for example, quotes the source who exposed the Richard and Judy phone-in scandal. She was paid £22,000 for her story, after visiting the dedicated whistleblowing website, www.cash4yourstory.co.uk, run by the KNS News Agency.
• The Observer’s press columnist, Peter Preston, has spotted a similar practice in tabloid kiss-and-tell land. Coralie Robinson says she was paid £10,000 for signing a document saying she never slept with footballer Ashley Cole – to prevent her selling her story to the tabloids.
“Privacy, in short, can be bought and sold like sausages,” Preston says. “The afflicted celebrity buys the story himself and buries it.”