One of England’s oldest newspapers, News of the World, is being closed because of a phone hacking scandal. The paper being shuttered has prompted a wide range of reactions, ranging from bewilderment to celebration.
Murdoch orders paper to close
Rebekah Brooks, former editor of News of the World and current CEO of News International, part of the Rupert Murdoch media empire, has come under fire for presiding over News of the World while phone hacking was going on. The decision to close the paper was made by James Murdoch, chairman of News International.
Staff fuming at shamed former editor
When Brooks broke the news that the publication was closing to News of the World employees and asked if staff had any questions, Brooks was told that she should leave immediately and was escorted out of the building. One journalist said that the newspaper was closing “to save one person,” and another said that she “had lost us our jobs because she refused to fall on her own sword.” Newspaper staff, according to the Press Gazette, were planning a vote of no confidence in her hours before they were all effectively fired. Brooks is remaining CEO of News International.
Cheers and jeers
Pop icon George Michael, according to Rolling Stone, said the paper shutting was a “fantastic day for Britain.” Many have lamented that the paper focused on lurid celebrity gossip despite a reputation for exceptional journalism in the past, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Actor Hugh Grant, according to The Guardian, has become instrumental in raising public awareness and pursuing illegal and unethical practices in the press through HackedOff, a campaign for public inquiries into phone hacking. Fallout from News of the World hacking cellular phones has reached the Prime Minister’s office. Andy Coulson, former top aide to David Cameron and former News of the World editor, has been arrested by Scotland Yard over possible involvement in phone hacking. Coulson was editor of the paper from 2003 to 2007, according to MSNBC. Coulson resigned from the government in January.
Practice not confined to rogues
News of the World executives insisted for years that phone hacking was only done by a few rogue individuals, but evidence is growing that illegally tapping into phones was institutional. According to The Guardian, thousands of emails between NOTW editors were found to have been deleted in a police investigation. Thousands of phones are estimated to have been hacked, including celebrities, terrorist attack victims and their families, military veterans and the royal family. It is estimated, according to the Daily Mail, that up to 100,000 pounds were paid to police officials for inside tips. The phone hacking scandal is easily the largest press scandal in the history of the United Kingdom. The News of the World will be defunct as of Sunday after more than a century of publication.
The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/phone-hacking/8624611/News-of-the-World-closed-down-newspaper-staff-direct-fury-at-Rebekah-Brooks.html
Press Gazette: http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=47455&c=1
Rolling Stone: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/george-michael-thrilled-that-news-of-the-world-is-shutting-down-20110707
Christian Science Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2011/0707/UK-reacts-to-closure-of-News-of-the-
The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/08/hugh-grant-news-international-rupert-murdoch
The Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2012540/ANDY-COULSON-ARRESTED-Camerons-ex-aide-quizzed-phone-hacking.html
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