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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid