Telegraph Media Group has hired former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as a PR adviser to improve the publisher’s reputation.
Coulson, who was imprisoned for charges relating to the phone-hacking scandal, has been brought in to promote the Daily and Sunday Telegraph as truthful and authoritative papers, something a journalist working at the publisher has called “wholly inappropriate” given his background, the Guardian reports.
The group’s chief executive Murdoch MacLennan is understood to be one of Coulson’s close friends, and even gave evidence in court defending the former editor.
Of the appointment, MacLennan said: “We have a good working relationship with Andy, who has written for us a couple of times. We feel his company will add value to the business.”
One journalist working at the Telegraph is quoted by the Guardian as saying: “This cannot do anything but harm to our brand. It will deliver a severe blow to the credibility of our journalism.”
The former editor of News of the World resigned in 2007 following the conviction of one of his reporters for intercepting phone calls made by the royal household.
In the same year Coulson was appointed by David Cameron as the Conservative party’s PR chief, later becoming the government’s communications director when Cameron became prime minister in 2010.
Coulson was forced to resign in January 2011 amid the growing controversy surrounding the phone-hacking scandal, and was arrested later that year and charged with conspiracy to intercept voicemails.