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

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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More