News of the World to close after hacking scandal

Jul 7, 2011

This Sunday's issue of the News of the
World will be the last edition of the paper,
News International chairman James
Murdoch has said.
In the past few days, claims have been made
that the paper authorised hacking into the
mobile phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly
Dowler and the families of 7/7 bombing
Mr Murdoch said proceeds from the last
edition would go to good causes.
Downing Street said it had no role or
involvement in the decision.
The News of the World, which has been in
circulation for 168 years, is the UK's biggest
selling newspaper and is famed for its
celebrity scoops.
No advertisements will run in this
weekend's paper - instead any advertising
space will be donated to charities and good
News International has refused to comment
on rumours that The Sun could now become
a seven-day-a-week operation.
"What happens to The Sun is a matter for
the future", a spokeswoman for News
International said. The Sun, another News
International tabloid, is currently published
from Monday to Saturday.
The spokeswoman also refused to say
whether the 200 or so employees at the
paper would be made redundant, saying:
"They will be invited to apply for other jobs
in the company."
The News of the World's political editor,
David Wooding, who joined 18 months ago,
said it was a fantastic paper.
"They cleared out all the bad people. They
bought in a great new editor, Colin Myler,
and his deputy, Victoria Newton, who had
not been sullied by any of the things that
had gone on in the past.
"And there's nobody there, there's hardly
anybody there who was there in the old
"The people are very clean, great, talented
professional journalists and we pull out a
great paper every week. And we're all
paying the price for what happened six
years ago by a previous regime."
'Serious regret'
In a statement made to staff, Mr Murdoch
said the good things the News of the World
did "have been sullied by behaviour that
was wrong - indeed, if recent allegations are
true, it was inhuman and has no place in
our company".
"The News of the World is in the business of
holding others to account. But it failed when
it came to itself."
He went on: "In 2006, the police focused
their investigations on two men. Both went
to jail. But the News of the World and News
International failed to get to the bottom of
repeated wrongdoing that occurred
without conscience or legitimate purpose.
"Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad
and this was not fully understood or
adequately pursued.
"As a result, the News of the World and
News International wrongly maintained that
these issues were confined to one reporter.
"We now have voluntarily given evidence to
the police that I believe will prove that this
was untrue and those who acted wrongly
will have to face the consequences. This was
not the only fault.
"The paper made statements to Parliament
without being in the full possession of the
facts. This was wrong.
"The company paid out-of-court settlements
approved by me. I now know that I did not
have a complete picture when I did so. This
was wrong and is a matter of serious
He said: "So, just as I acknowledge we have
made mistakes, I hope you and everyone
inside and outside the company will
acknowledge that we are doing our utmost
to fix them, atone for them, and make sure
they never happen again.
"Having consulted senior colleagues, I have
decided that we must take further decisive
action with respect to the paper. This
Sunday will be the last issue of the News of
the World."
He reiterated that the company was fully co-
operating with the two ongoing police
He added: "While we may never be able to
make up for distress that has been caused,
the right thing to do is for every penny of
the circulation revenue we receive this
weekend to go to organisations that
improve life in Britain and are devoted to
treating others with dignity."
Labour MP Tom Watson told Sky News it was
"a victory for decent people up and down
the land, and I say good riddance to the
News of the World".
But Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said: "All
they're going to do is rebrand it" and
former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott,
who alleged his phone was hacked, thought
the decision was simply a gimmick.
In April, the News of the World admitted
intercepting the voicemail messages of
prominent people to find stories.
It came after years of rumours that the
practice was widespread and amid intense
pressure from those who believed they had
been victims.
Royal editor Clive Goodman and private
investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed for
hacking in January 2007 after it was found
they targeted Prince William's aides.
Detectives recovered files from Mulcaire's
home which referred to a long list of public
figures and celebrities.
The scandal widened this week when it
emerged that a phone belonging to the
missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler, who was
then found murdered, was also hacked into.
Earlier on Thursday, the Met Police said they
were contacting almost 4,000 people whose
names appeared in 11,000 pages of notes.
On Wednesday, the government promised
an inquiry.