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Not the News of the World
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Murdoch closes 'The News Of The World'!

Monday, 18 July 2011
     

Sunday, 10 July 2011, was the last issue of the News Of The World newspaper.

The 168-year-old tabloid was accused of hacking into the mobile phones of crime victims, celebrities and politicians.

About 4,000 telephone numbers were found in the record so of private detective, Glenn Mulcaire, who was previously convicted of illegally accessing people's voice mails on behalf of the paper. We understand up to 400 numbers were dialled from his phone, suggesting that about 10% of the suspected victims were actually hacked.

However, only one actually matters, and that is the voice mail of missing teenager Milly Dowler, who was later found murdered by Levi Bellfield, who was recently convicted. This was particularity outrageous, because it is alleged that they deleted voice mails, giving a false hope to her parents, and possibly interfering with the police investigation.

It quickly became apparent that many other victims of serious crime were targeted, and that other papers may also have used the practice.

Worse still, that police may have been routinely bribed, as admitted by Rebekah Brooks who was editor at the time. The bribing was apparently, mostly, to obtain confidential information, including protected witness addresses and telephone numbers. Complaints that the News Of The World then used this information to harass and intimidate witnesses to obtain information, have since been made.

Calls for Rebekah Brooks, who was editor at the time, to resign have persisted, and it is unclear how far up the chain knowledge of such illegal practices went. Ex-journalists have suggested that it went at least as far as James Murdock.

Leading brands, including Sainsbury's, Ford and O2, pulled their advertising and readers made it clear they were not going to buy it.

Most people believe that the decision to close the paper was an attempt to draw a line under past wrong doing and prevent the investigation and scandal from dragging on. Actor Hugh Grant, who was famously exposed by The News Of The World for using a prostitute and refusing to pay, said, "I think this is a cynical management manoeuvre".

Murdoch described the paper as "sullied" and "inhuman". He went on to say that "The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself.", and concluded, "Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued.

David Wooding, the The News of the World's political editor, who had only been with the paper for 18 months, 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 regime."

The News Of the World's editor Colin Myler said it was "the saddest day of my professional career", and that "nothing should diminish everything this great newspaper has achieved".

On Twitter reaction was mixed. @Jamin2g tweeted to me, "I still can't believe it's gone. I miss you #notw and it's barely Tuesday."

Staff at the paper were described as shocked and bewildered. In particular the decision to close the paper and keep the former editor, Mrs Brooks, in place was distressing to staff. UPDATE: she has since resigned, reportedly with a £5 million pay off.

The News of the World, was Britain's most popular Sunday paper with 2.8million copies being sold each week.

 

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