News / Europe

Tabloid to Close as British Hacking Scandal Widens

A woman speaks on her mobile phone outside the News International headquarters building that houses the top-selling newspaper The News of the World, which is closing, in east London, July 6, 2011
A woman speaks on her mobile phone outside the News International headquarters building that houses the top-selling newspaper The News of the World, which is closing, in east London, July 6, 2011

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +
Henry Ridgwell

The News of the World phone-hacking scandal in Britain has claimed its latest victim - the newspaper itself. News International, the parent company of the newspaper owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has announced that this Sunday’s edition will be the last. Its closure is unlikely to mark the end of a scandal that penetrates deep into British society.

Outside News International headquarters in London, protesters gathered Friday to voice their feelings about the company’s owner Murdoch and The News of the World.

Staff say journalists inside are even angrier. The decision to close The News of the World puts around 200 jobs on the line.

David Wooding, political editor at The News of the World, said, "Very said, very sad, it's going to be emotional for us all this weekend."

Ivor Gaber, professor of journalism at London’s City University, said The News of the World brand had been poisoned.

“Interesting the man [Murdoch] has no sentiment. People said, 'How could he close a newspaper, 160 years old?' Easy. Slightly more interesting is, this was his toehold, this was the first paper he bought in this country. You’d think he might have some sentimental attachment to the key that unlocked the riches of the British media," said Gaber. "No. He’s a businessman. He takes business decisions... He is a colossus. He doesn't control the media in every country but it's very difficult to travel to most parts of this world without encountering a Rupert Murdoch media product."

The phone-hacking allegations are nothing new. Two News of the World journalists were convicted in 2009. But the newspaper’s claim that they were isolated cases appears to be falling apart.

New evidence allegedly shows that the phone of a murdered British schoolgirl, Millie Dowler, was hacked by News of the World journalists while she was declared missing in 2002; and that some answer-phone messages were deleted, giving her family false hope that she was still alive.

Police say it appears that relatives of those killed in the 2005 London bombing victims, and the parents of dead soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan also are on the list of possible victims.

British Prime Minister David Cameron ordered two public inquiries into the allegations - but is himself facing close scrutiny for hiring a former editor of The News of the World, Andy Coulson, as his former Director of Communications.

Coulson was arrested Friday over fresh allegations he authorized cash payments of around $160,000 to police in return for stories.

“I decided to give him a second chance and no one has ever raised serious concerns about how he did his job for me," said Cameron. "But the second chance didn't work out and he had to resign all over again. The decision to hire him was mine, and mine alone, and I take full responsibility for it.”

The allegations go even deeper.

In 2006 the London Metropolitan Police investigated the hacking claims. Critics say the fact that the investigation did not uncover their true extent shows either corruption or incompetence.

The steady drip of allegations has piled the pressure on News International - and exposed the power of the Murdoch media empire within British society.

“It went to ridiculous extremes allowing Murdoch to dictate government policy," said Gaber. "We have several examples of that. And if that has been nullified, then that is one good fallout from this affair… The big question that the Metropolitan Police now face is did they whitewash the Murdoch inquiry because they were in hock to Murdoch - or worse - still frightened of Murdoch, and if that’s proven, then that is a very worrying development.”

After 160 years, the final copy of The News of the World will roll off the presses in the early hours of Sunday morning.

That is unlikely to be the end of the scandal.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid